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#metoo empathy deficit entitled babies men who should not ever be with women ever misogyny playing the victim rape jokes transphobia

Terry Gilliam, shut your festering gob, you tit

By David Futrelle

Terry Gilliam is tired of talking about his movie The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Instead he’s decided to take advantage of the media attention surrounding the film’s late UK release to expound at length on his rather tiresome (and decidedly unoriginal) theories of gender and race and how white men like him are the most persecuted people on planet earth.

Yes, he’s turned into one of those guys. Or perhaps, given his reputation as kind of a dick, he’s always been one.

In an, er, wide-ranging interview with Alexandra Pollard  of The Independent, the 79-year-old director called #MeToo a “witch hunt,” whined that white men are “being blamed for everything wrong with the world,” and then, for funzies, declared that his manifestly white self was somehow really a “black lesbian” because lots of people with his last name are black.

Refusing to talk for more than a moment or two about his movie, Gilliam began the interview with a tirade about the alleged evils of #MeToo.

We’re living in a time where there’s always somebody responsible for your failures, and I don’t like this. I want people to take responsibility and not just constantly point a finger at somebody else, saying, ‘You’ve ruined my life.’ .

#MeToo is a witch hunt. I really feel there were a lot of people, decent people, or mildly irritating people, who were getting hammered.

After all this humorless bloviation, he then wondered aloud why people don’t think #MeToo jokes are funny. While admitting that a lot of #MeToo accusations are true, he added that “the idea that this is such an important subject you cannot find anything humorous about it” was just plain wrong.

Gilliam then brought race and gender identity into the mix, making the One Trans Joke that so many reactionary would-be comedians think is so hilarious.

When I announce that I’m a black lesbian in transition, people take offence at that. Why?

Pollard, who at this point must have been inwardly cringing at each new pronouncement from Gilliam, told him it’s because, er, he’s manifestly not that.

He explained that many people with his last name are indeed black so maybe he’s half black or something? (The exceedingly white looking Gilliam doesn’t seem to realize that it’s infinitely more likely that his similarly lily-white ancestors owned the ancestors of the black people who now have that last name.)

He then gave up the fatuous claim, only to insist that

I don’t like the term black or white. I’m now referring to myself as a melanin-light male. I can’t stand the simplistic, tribalistic behaviour that we’re going through at the moment.

But he quickly returned to the joke about being a black lesbian.

I’m talking about being a man accused of all the wrong in the world because I’m white-skinned. So I better not be a man. I better not be white. OK, since I don’t find men sexually attractive, I’ve got to be a lesbian. What else can I be? I like girls. These are just logical steps.

It’s not hard to see why Pollard says that it’s “deeply frustrating to argue with Gilliam. He is both the devil and his advocate.” And a pretty tedious devil at that.

Get some new material, dude.

NOTE: In case you’re wondering about the title of this post, it’s from an old Monty Python routine.

H/T — thanks to Twitter’s@WeaselFidget for alerting me to the interview.

Send tips to dfutrelle at gmail dot com.

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Moggie
Moggie
8 months ago

I’ll continue liking Brazil and Time Bandits, but I guess I won’t be sending any more money Gilliam’s way.

If Michael Palin turns out to be not as nice as he seems, I’ll be devastated.

Diego Duarte
Diego Duarte
8 months ago

@Naglfar

That’s the other thing that annoys me about reactionaries. They think they’re being cool and being outside the establishment with their bigotry, while really they’re just reinforcing said establishment.

The thing about reactionary positions is that they allow vapid would-be conservatives to cosplay as enlightened revolutionaries, whilst fighting for the status quo.

I suppose it’s a defense mechanism, because the alternative would be accepting that society is indeed fucked up because it’s men like them running it.

Sapphire
Sapphire
8 months ago

Please take this for the honest question that it is, with the background that I am on the spectrum and have a difficult time understanding what I perceive to be “double standards”, when there is not a logical basis for it:

What’s the harm in allowing people to identify however they want when it comes to social constructs? (Obviously, species is not a social construct, but race, gender and perhaps sexuality, at least with the current definitions of sexuality are social constructs) I don’t understand why they are considered differently and one is ok, but another isn’t.

Naglfar
Naglfar
8 months ago

@Snowberry

Yeah, and that reason is that some people “fossilize”. Once the ideals of their youth are more or less achieved, they can’t easily move on. They always were and still are “liberal” in some sense, but they’re not progressive,

I know lots of old people that this happened to. Like my grandmother. She’s in her early 80s and derails any discussion of feminism or LGBT rights by talking about “how far we’ve come” as if there’s no more progress to be made. I’ll do my best to make sure I don’t fossilize when I get old.

@Lucrece

It’s a wonderful art form and I love being part of it, but it’s an art that is quite familiar with the moral conundrum of whether to love the art when the artist turns out to be a jerk.

As an opera fan, I know that feeling. For me, I can generally separate the art from the artist once the artist has died (note: not the same as “death of the artist” philosophy, I mean literal death) because then they’re not profiting off of it.

@Steampunked

I’ve read some pretty harsh critiques of both the punk and the anarchist scenes on a similar basis.

I’ve not ever been very active in the punk or anarchist communities (more of a metalhead) but my limited experience has shown that a lot of modern anarchists don’t pay much attention to social issues and seem to believe that a revolution will fix everything and that in the meantime it’s a waste of time to do anything else. There’s a lot wrong with this mentality, but part of it is that it’s effectively social conservatism since they’re not actually working to fix social problems.

Vaiyt
Vaiyt
8 months ago

If Gilliam’s statements are mesnt to be a joke, he missed the punchline. You know, the funny bit, the part that makes you go haha. Being stupid and ignorant isn’t comedy, and it isn’t provocative either.

Moggie
Moggie
8 months ago

@Vaiyt:

If Gilliam’s statements are mesnt to be a joke, he missed the punchline. You know, the funny bit, the part that makes you go haha. Being stupid and ignorant isn’t comedy, and it isn’t provocative either.

I remember an interview with Carol Cleveland, talking about her Python years. Brought on board when the first series was being written, she was given scripts to read, and thought “this stuff doesn’t work: where’s the punchline?”. She didn’t know then that those sketches would lead into a Gilliam animation.

So, if Gilliam says something unfunny, just imagine him then being chased off the set by an animated monster with seventeen eyes on stalks. It still won’t be funny, but it’ll remind you of why he used to matter.

OT: in other Python news, Neil Innes died a week ago.

rv97
rv97
8 months ago

@Naglfar

I feel like with the one or two punks/anarchists I’ve come across, they are more progressive regarding social issues, like believing the police only exist to perpetuate a racist and capitalist society.

LindsayIrene
LindsayIrene
8 months ago

Monty Python’s Flying Circus was played on PBS in the US in the late 70s and a lot of people were outraged because of the men pretending to be women. Generally, my mom allowed me to watch anything that was played on PBS but she strictly forbade Monty Python (which only made me want to watch it more, of course). But surrrrrrrrre, no one was offended before 2015, Terry.

Dalaila
Dalaila
8 months ago

I have a tattoo based on an illustration I believe is from Terry Gilliam (I’ve never been able to find its original source, & I’ve lost the 2006 Monty Python calendar where I found it) so this is really fucking disappointing & enraging.

The quote that accompanied the tattoo image;
“And on Sundays they will go, in small, well chaperoned groups, to the vast plasterboard cities that pierce the sun.”

Bakunin
Bakunin
8 months ago

@Naglfar
I have seen anarchists like that too. It’s a big reason why I try to stay pragmatic and keep short-term solutions going, even if it involves compromising. The revolution likely won’t be in my lifetime, might as well try to keep things ok in the meantime

Cyborgette
Cyborgette
8 months ago

Off topic, but word needs to get around:

https://mobile.twitter.com/hodakatebi/status/1213887776229216257

Border Patrol is under orders to detain Iranian American citizens.

Naglfar
Naglfar
8 months ago

@Sapphire

What’s the harm in allowing people to identify however they want when it comes to social constructs? (Obviously, species is not a social construct, but race, gender and perhaps sexuality, at least with the current definitions of sexuality are social constructs) I don’t understand why they are considered differently and one is ok, but another isn’t.

I think the main reason there’s a problem is that the only time I’ve ever heard anyone identify as another race or similar is when they were arguing in bad faith. There’s a long history of transgender (both binary and non-binary) people documented worldwide in different cultures with varying degrees of acceptance. As well, most trans* people are simply trying to live their lives (at least, I am). OTOH, transracial only seems to surface as an idea when some conservative provocateur claims to identify as black to both be racist and to mock trans* folx at the same time. As mentioned above, Gilliam here does not actually identify as black, he’s saying he does to be mocking and reactionary.

@Bakunin

It’s a big reason why I try to stay pragmatic and keep short-term solutions going, even if it involves compromising. The revolution likely won’t be in my lifetime, might as well try to keep things ok in the meantime

I feel the same way. I see it as, if there is a revolution, it probably won’t fix everything anyways (i.e. even if such a revolution could be done, ending one form of inequality or discrimination still leaves others to be dealt with) and in the mean time I should try to make things better in smaller ways, because a lot of things can’t wait for a revolution.
Then, there’s as Cyborgette mentioned in another thread, there’s the fact that many revolutionary anarchists might not be very cognizant of this, and that could have disasterous consequences.

@Cyborgette
Holy shit. This is escalating even faster than I thought. I’m a bit worried there will be internment camps before long.

William Hooper
William Hooper
8 months ago

@Sapphire :
Thanks for some Sanity !!

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
8 months ago

Well, damn. I liked a lot of Gilliam’s work, too; he obviously enjoyed playing around with the boundary line between subjective and objective reality. (See: Brazil, Adventures of Baron Munchausen.) I would have loved to have seen a collaboration between him and Satoshi Kon, who similarly played with that line. (See: Perfect Blue, Paprika…)

I had some respect for him during an earlier interview I actually attended when he commented that he’d actually been given a chance to direct the Watchmen movie and gave it up because he didn’t think he could do it (and didn’t want to go down in history as the person who ruined Watchmen). He was also a strong believer that children were generally far more resilient than people gave them credit for.

But, yeah, this is pretty sad. And as others have noted above… well, Gilliam nearly caused the breakup of the Pythons and the shutdown of the film The Meaning of Life because his ‘short intro’ (The Crimson Permanent Assurance) went way over budget, over time, and he refused to back down on what he wanted to do. He’s been a bit of a self-important git for a while.

On other discussion:

A friend of mine used to use, as part of his description of punk, the difference between The Sex Pistols (who stayed relatively true to the original punk concept and who were insulted by attempts to induct them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and insulted back), versus The Clash (who moved on to more new wave and surviving members had no problem when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame). You could do an entire study on how strongly people actually hold onto the attitudes they claim just based on the history of those two groups.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
8 months ago

@Naglfar:
And, of course, revolutions often don’t fix things, and can make things worse, because now you have people running things who don’t actually have a lot of experience running things, and the revolution often needs help from the people deposed, or just gets co-opted by more regressive elements who liked the way things were being run aside from the fact that they weren’t the ones in charge. (E.g., Stalin taking over from Lenin, the way the Southern plantations wrote their economic control into the U.S., the Terror in France…)

In some ways, the American Revolution is actually a serious outlier in how well things went afterward. And as noted, it was hardly immune to the negative effects.

@Cyborgette:
Ack. And someone I used to work with who is of Iranian descent just moved from Canada to the U.S. Which, frankly, I thought was a bad idea because I was worried about things like this happening.

Cyborgette
Cyborgette
8 months ago

@Naglfar

The infrastructure and practices are already there. The prison system, ICE detention centers, etc. It’s only a matter of scaling it up even further.

TBH some of my friends are talking about getting firearms licenses. I don’t intend to, simply because I don’t think it would be very helpful, but yeah. Shit, as they say, is getting real. A person would have to be very ignorant, very privileged, or very evil not to feel frightened.

Naglfar
Naglfar
8 months ago

@Cyborgette

The infrastructure and practices are already there. The prison system, ICE detention centers, etc. It’s only a matter of scaling it up even further.

Plus, the country has the experience of doing it before. It would probably be easier to do again.

I don’t intend to, simply because I don’t think it would be very helpful, but yeah.

I don’t plan to either, because I don’t want to support big gun corporations and groups, but the thought has crossed my mind.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
8 months ago

@Cyborgette : everything can degenerate pretty much since the election of Trump, and could maybe not degenerate at all despite the Orange One best efforts.

So, the important part is to conserve energy, and outrage, for if the shit hit the fan. Also be on the outlook of a start of something to help/hinder it if needed.

I would replace “evil” by “stupid”. Being evil won’t save anyone, and there’s alway a large amount of random roadkills in thoses situations.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
8 months ago

@Cyborgette:
I have a friend who’s currently working in U.S. Immigration. He pretty much hates ICE as well. To quote him, “We find cases of what’s pretty blatantly human trafficking and we can’t send out investigators because the stormtroopers ate all the budget.”

Naglfar
Naglfar
8 months ago

@Jenora Feuer

“We find cases of what’s pretty blatantly human trafficking and we can’t send out investigators because the stormtroopers ate all the budget.”

I’d imagine that from the perspective of Republican lawmakers, that’s a feature, not a bug.

Cyborgette
Cyborgette
8 months ago

@Ohlmann

I think we may have different definitions of evil, yours perhaps being narrower than mine.

I actually did originally intend to write “stupid”, but “evil” is less ableist and more accurate. It’s a matter of giving a fuck, not one of intellectual ability.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
8 months ago

@Naglfar:
Sadly, that’s quite likely true.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
8 months ago

At some point, we need a term for people that have intellectual capacities, but decide to not use them or use them wrong. I though “stupid” covered that case TBH.

ANother reason for me to not use “evil”, is that there are plenty objectively evil people that nonetheless look up their own interest enough to not want a fascist dictator. I mean, plenty of evil, brain-non-using guys are all for it, and a small amount of evil peoples are right in thinking they will be the top dog in that situation, but there’s also all the guys that want people to suffer but aren’t delusional yet.

Viscaria
Viscaria
8 months ago

@Ohlmann

So, the important part is to conserve energy, and outrage, for if the shit hit the fan. Also be on the outlook of a start of something to help/hinder it if needed.

Has the shit not hit the fan already? I feel like outrage is a perfectly reasonable response to putting kids in cages because they’re brown and assassination intended to distract from impeachment and threatening to commit war crimes in Twitter. I wish the people with some power to stop some of this would feel a little outrage.

kietazou
kietazou
8 months ago

As the saying (reversed and appropriately amended) goes: “Comedy is hard. Dying in easy – so take the easiest road, soon, you crinkled asshat!”

Naglfar
Naglfar
8 months ago

@Viscaria

I feel like outrage is a perfectly reasonable response to putting kids in cages because they’re brown and assassination intended to distract from impeachment and threatening to commit war crimes in Twitter. I wish the people with some power to stop some of this would feel a little outrage.

Agree. Shit’s been hitting the fan nonstop for 3 years now while half the country is loving it. Outrage is the appropriate response.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
8 months ago

@Viscaria : well, you’re well allowed to take action, and I indeed was unclear to the point of being harmful as you pointed.

What I mean is : don’t stay in full alert mode, waiting for something to happen, and if you wait for something, remember it might not happen at all.

Diptych
Diptych
8 months ago

What’s the harm in allowing people to identify however they want when it comes to social constructs? (Obviously, species is not a social construct, but race, gender and perhaps sexuality, at least with the current definitions of sexuality are social constructs)

They’re all social constructs, at least in that we choose how we define them, talk about them, act based on them – that includes species, too, ’cause there’s a lot of different, competing definitions of ‘species’ – but they’re all constructed differently, and in reference to different phenomena. Gender and sexuality, for instance, are expected to display much more individual variance than race. It would be considerably more surprising for an entire family to all be one gender than for them to all be one race.

A friend of mine used to use, as part of his description of punk, the difference between The Sex Pistols (who stayed relatively true to the original punk concept and who were insulted by attempts to induct them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and insulted back), versus The Clash (who moved on to more new wave and surviving members had no problem when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame).

The comparison I’m more familiar with is that the Pistols were a bunch of kids recruited into a fake band to drum up outrage and sell T-shirts, while the Clash were actually interested in radical politics and pushing the musical envelope.

Re: Python in general: I absolutely grew up on Python and can bore you to death talking about it, but I rewatched the series recently, and, lord, there’s a lot of terrible material in there. A lot of straight-up blackface, for a start. Let’s just say it’s a mixed bag.

Naglfar
Naglfar
8 months ago

@Diptych

The comparison I’m more familiar with is that the Pistols were a bunch of kids recruited into a fake band to drum up outrage and sell T-shirts, while the Clash were actually interested in radical politics and pushing the musical envelope.

The Clash were a much better band anyway IMO.

Katherine the Adequate
Katherine the Adequate
8 months ago

Waaa. Actresses in their twenties are now free to turn down sexual advances from mummified creeps like him without worrying about their careers being killed and it’s sooooooooo unfair!!!

Catalpa
Catalpa
8 months ago

There’s a reason older people skew more conservative in general

Partially it’s also because the wealthy and powerful are more likely to both hold conservative views and live into old age. Poor and marginalized people are more likely to die early and to have their progressive politics die with them.

race, gender and perhaps sexuality, at least with the current definitions of sexuality are social constructs

I’ve heard one argument that goes something like: “race is generational, while gender is not”. A person’s race has impacted their family and their racial community for years and years, and that tends to have far-teaching impacts, while a person’s gender is something that is personal to them alone. (Yes, men and women have also been impacted over the years but families and communities have always been made up of a mixture of men and women and non-binary folks).

I’m pretty cis, so I’m maybe not the best person to articulate this concept, but I found that argument to be a relatively reasonable way to explain the problem of a “trans-racial” identity.

Paireon
Paireon
8 months ago

Oh hey it looks like our friend Hooper managed to evade his ban!

Also, lots of food for thought while I was AFK…

RE: Cleese: Yeah, add that one to the pile of disappointments.

RE: Fossilizing with age: I’m definitely on the lookout for that one, and am trying my best not to let it happen to me. Probably helps that my base mentality about stuff, even when I don’t care for it, is “who cares as long as no one gets hurt (unless they want to be, for the BDSM crowd)?”, and that I long ago internalized the concept that the only constant is change. I’m still gonna laugh at stuff/people though.

RE: Opera et al.: Yeah, I love Wagner and others, but I’ve also been aware for quite a bit that there are some problems there; Personally my approach is to enjoy if you like it, but never forget or minimize the problems of the work or its creator(s). If that diminishes the enjoyment, then the moral thing to do is to distance yourself from it, not start espousing the creator’s views so you can enjoy it again.

RE: Anarchists/punks: While their stated goals may be laudable, the fact that by their very nature those movements are pretty bad at establishing any kind of plausible roadmap (it’s mostly Step 1: Tear it all down! Step 2: ? Step 3: Profit!) means I don’t particularly trust them to accomplish much, even if a “revolution” happens (which is rather doubtful IMO, especially from the Left these days), on top of all the other problems mentioned by others here. Also, more of a metalhead myself as well so not super knowledgeable of the punk scene there or now.

RE: Fascistic tendencies increasing in the US following the Iran crap: I can’t help but find it grimly amusing that during the Obama years the conservatives were the ones railing about this happening (see: FEMA internment camps conspiracy theories). I guess that since it isn’t “their” people this is happening to/it’s “their” people who are doing it they don’t mind that it’s happening, or are even happy about it. Bunch of projecting hypocrites. Here’s hoping my Southern neighbors stay safe.

RE: Use of “stupid”: I have a personal saying: “Intelligence and stupidity are not mutually exclusive”. Personally I’ve always felt that unlike idiocy, stupidity is not a lack of intelligence, but rather a failure of intelligence. Be it a brain fart, cognitive dissonance, ignorance willful or otherwise, or stubborn adherence to preconceived notions in the face of contrary evidence, intellectual laziness, or what have you, a stupid person isn’t an “idiot” (which used to be a term to describe people with low IQs, like moron and imbecile), because they have sufficient intelligence to comprehend something, but the method of thinking they use (or refuse to use) prevents them from achieving comprehension. An “idiot” can’t understand, a stupid person won’t, for whatever reason. Which is why I think calling someone stupid isn’t ableist. The two words have been confused as synonymous in popular thought, just as have “theory” and “hypothesis” (hence stupid people clinging to young earth creationism and/or flat-eartherism because “evolution”, “plate tectonics”, and “newtonian physics” are all “just” theories).

Crip Dyke
8 months ago

Well, add Hooper to the category of people who believe No means Yes.

As for transracial identity…

…I don’t have a problem in theory with this, and in fact there’s a lot of room for individual choice here, and there’s a huge amount of disingenuousness in the outrage about the phenomenon when it comes to white people. Take this example:

As has been pointed out frequently, hard definitions of “black” and “white” have little to do with a person’s actual heritage. Because of intermarriage and rape during slavery, most African Americans have about 24 percent European ancestry, while about 10 to 15 percent of white Southerners’ racial makeup contains African ancestry.

From the same article:

…multiracial people are still met with efforts to categorize them in one race — especially if they have any black heritage. “By the time I reached middle school, I fully identified myself not even as biracial, but just as black,” [Shaun] King wrote in the Daily Kos. “Every friend I had was black, my girlfriends were black, I was seen as black, treated as black, and endured constant overt racism as a young black teenager. [emphasis added] Never have I once identified myself as white. Not on forms, not for convenience or privilege, and not for fun and games, have I ever identified myself as white.”

While there are strong reactions to people who don’t seem to come out of Black culture yet speak publicly about issues facing Black communities and recommend polices or laws to address them, there’s also a long tradition of the Black community accepting people that are even a tiny bit Black.

That “one drop rule”? There was, of necessity, a reciprocal rule in Black communities that paralleled the law passed by whites. One drop of Black blood had the power to make someone “not family” when it made them “not white”, but it also had the power to make those people family in Black communities.

I’ve written about this before.

I actually think that the things that trigger Black rejection of “transracial” persons is often stuff that really should be critiqued, and it typically resembles or actually is cultural appropriation. Cultural appropriation and cultural imperialism is not a similar concern with transsexual or transgender experiences. However, if a trans* person speaks about cis-specific concerns, it certainly is possible that they could make similar errors and would be worthy of similar criticism.

But moreover, the law generally does not treat people of different races differently. The law forces us, for various reasons, to carry government-issued declarations of legal sex. In the US, Canada, France and the UK, this is not true. It’s probably true in some places, but not anywhere I’ve spent any significant time. If you had a race marker on a driver’s license, I suspect that there would be a lot more people speaking out against the government dictating individual’s racial identities and a lot more sympathy for people arguing something that might look a lot (at least superficially) like a transracial movement.

That’s just not where we are. It’s not the cultural context. So these arguments crop up differently and appear to have different meaning. If I presumed to speak for Brownies and Girl Scouts when I had never been either, I think it would be appropriate to kick my ass across town. That would be an actual appropriation of the experiences of growing up a cis girl during my childhood (nowadays trans* kids of any gender can join the Girl Scouts in the US and Canada, because the GS are fucking rock stars).

And yet, when white moms of interracial kids identified as Black speak up about the problems forced upon Black children today, you don’t hear the same level or type of confrontation happening between the mother who loves her (half and/or perceived) Black child and Black people who are parents.

This shit is complicated, and it’s made worse by the disingenuous way in which the right wing sparks racial policing.

The whole concept is incredibly complicated, much too much to address with any reasonable fullness in a blog comment. But I think that these are a few of the ways in which “transracialism” differs from trans* political context and experience and advocacy.

Kevin
Kevin
8 months ago

Another apposite Pratchett quote from a re – read of ‘Hogfather:’ ‘Clever isn’t the same as sensible.’

Sapphire
Sapphire
8 months ago

Thanks for taking my questions in good faith. I have a lot of difficulty in getting people to talk about it because it’s assumed I’m trying to “trap” them into something. In reality, I’m trying to understand and be able to create a worldview that I can deal with.

So, I get the argument that it is done in bad faith, but so what? Let them do it in bad faith. I feel that would shut them up more than anything else. It’s been forcefully argued against any sort of gatekeeping with trans, which I have some mixed feelings, based on other biological arguments people make (because of consistency in thought is not present), but I don’t have major objections to a lack of gatekeeping, if it is consistent.

I know the fear from many people about transwomen especially is not of transwomen in good faith, it’s the fear of men using it in bad faith. In UK it seems they have more of an issue with those bad faith actors, but it’s the driving reason from my point of view. They aren’t worried about people who present as female going into female bathrooms, but with gender as it is currently used in certain woke circles, someone can say they are a transwoman and those words are the only words needed to change them from man to woman. And I totally get the issues with gatekeeping for people who are trans in good faith, but if we are saying no gatekeeping, then no gatekeeping. If they want to say they are a black woman, then go for it. There aren’t legal standards to treat men and women different either technically, we’re supposed to be treated equally under the law. It doesn’t hurt me or my gender to have Gilliam say that, any more than it hurts me or my gender to have a transwoman with a beard or other less “conforming” transpeople. Switch his pronouns to female and go with it. It seems to me that would be a far more effective way of saying that we allow people to self-identify.

The trans-racial thing, I think of Rachel Dolezal. She wasn’t appropriating, she was living her life as a black woman (and continues to do so). She was advocating for the rights of black people. But she’s been ripped to shreds, because “she didn’t grow up with the experience of being a black woman”. But transwomen also have not gone through the experience of being a a ciswoman, so I don’t see how it is different. And like someone else mentioned, for the vast majority of americans whose families are not recent immigrants, there is likely an ancestor who was a slave. It seems arbitrary. I am not sure I agree with it being a generational thing, because you wouldn’t tell a black child adopted by a white family that they aren’t black anymore. While it’s not legally marked on the ID, if there’s a picture, it might as well be marked. It goes along with the gender issue in that typically it is important for identification purposes. There are different body parts. Our bones are different.

I know there is some frustration in certain circles because of the insistence by some transwomen that female biological issues be left out of platforms or discussions, which I feel could cause people to feel they are being appropriated, I think especially when it comes to sports. But generally my observations have been that if a ciswoman questions anything about transwomen’s rights to dictate policy that affects ciswomen, they’re typically called a terf, and there is no place for advocacy for ciswomen, which are still a protected group themselves. It just doesn’t seem logical to me.

Maybe I’ll never understand the double standards. I will admit that I do get frustrated that any disagreement about transgender issues (while still affirming them as worthwhile human beings, entitled to rights and protections) is immediately labeled as phobic and unacceptable, even with research attempts. I think it is possible there are multiple ways to get to the same place where people can express their gender how they want and have full and protected rights, but it feels like it’s only ok to have the current accepted view.

Other random thought that occurred to me when I was thinking about the differences – I wonder how this will affect forensics and murder investigations, especially if we retroactively change birth certificates etc. A skeleton is male or female and even hormones won’t change that. It could make it harder to ID victims if they are looking for a male and it was a transwoman or a female and it was a transman. DNA as well can contradict with outward presentation.

Overall, my biggest concern is that splitting gender from sex inadvertently creates even more strictly enforced gender stereotypes than before, and there doesn’t seem to be much thought about how biology does influence behavior (not just of the person, but via pheromones and innate biological drives).

My personal theory is that is why often transpeople are feared/disliked by some, especially the further from “stereotypical” sex presentations. So much of our evolved behavior is based on “potential partner” “potential rival”, not governed solely by conscious thought, and our brains inherent desire to categorize what we see. It’s almost like an uncanny valley and causes the same recoil because it is pushing against those lizard brain needs to be able to discern the world around them in a manner that makes sense. Possibly also if pheromones are sending out signals that we don’t know we’re sending/receiving and that contrasts with what our eyes are perceiving, it could create discomfort, without people being able to understand exactly why. No research to back that up, but just a thought.

But again, to be clear, I want to make sure it is known that no matter my opinions/difficulties in understanding etc, I support every single person to be able to express themselves as they choose in safety and without diminishment of their rights or personhood. I don’t want my thoughts about why people might react as they do, issues within communities or whatever to ever be construed that I think it is ok to discriminate, harm or belittle someone.

Crip Dyke
8 months ago

So, I get the argument that it is done in bad faith, but so what? Let them do it in bad faith.

Uh, when have I done otherwise?

But also: calling someone an asshole for doing something is not the same as refusing to let them do it.

There aren’t legal standards to treat men and women different either technically, we’re supposed to be treated equally under the law.

Bullshit and you know it. There are all kinds of segregated government programs and as long as you can be arrested in one public bathroom but not another based on what’s on your ID, then obviously people are being treated “different”.

Remember, “same” is not “equal”. You can have “equal” but segregated based on legal sex facilities and government programs under the law in the US and in Canada. You cannot have “equal” but segregated based on race facilities and government programs.

So yes, we’re supposed to be treated equally, but that doesn’t mean we’re being treated the same.

I do get frustrated that any disagreement about transgender issues (while still affirming them as worthwhile human beings, entitled to rights and protections) is immediately labeled as phobic and unacceptable, even with research attempts.

This is not true, and if you think it about it for a moment you would know it couldn’t be true. There is more than one trans person in the world. Any time you have at least two people in a group, they are going to disagree with each other from time to time.

There is disagreement all the time. Much of it is not labeled prejudiced or bigoted. Some of it is. If you decide in advance that all disagreement is immediately labeled phobic and unacceptable, you will never have any reason to actually understand the arguments that people put forward as to why something is perceived as prejudiced or bigoted or phobic, or why something is judged unacceptable.

If you do want to understand what’s happening, you have to drop your reflexive, absolutist commitment to the idea that all disagreement is labeled phobic/unacceptable. You’re going to have to learn that there are actual arguments people make, actual analysis people perform, to determine whether or not it’s reasonable to believe something is prejudiced or to judge something unacceptable.

You don’t have to do that work. There’s no law making you do that work. But you seem frustrated by your inability to understand things and that frustration will never go away until you admit to yourself that other people are thinking and they have reasons for their decisions, perceptions, and judgements.

I wonder how this will affect forensics and murder investigations,

You should know this comes across pretty badly. The problem with trans people being murdered isn’t the extra work a non-trans* coroner or detective might do. It’s that one of us was murdered. I doubt you really mean to say that you care more about coroner’s doing a couple extra tests or computer searches than about trans people actually getting killed, but when you write this kind of thing that focusses solely on the trouble trans* people cause non-trans* people by getting ourselves murdered, any sympathy you actually feel for murder victims is left out.

Now you, just statistically, even if I hadn’t read anything else by you here (where you clearly express sympathy for people) are very likely to belong to the vast, vast majority of people who actually give a fuck when people are victims of violence. That said, there are way, way too many people whose empathic abilities fail them when it comes to trans* persons. Think about how it’s still not murder in most jurisdictions to kill trans* persons if you claim you were freaked out by them being trans. The crime of which you are guilty is reduced to manslaughter instead, because the law considers murdering trans* people more understandable and more forgivable and less punishable than murdering non-trans* people.

Since trans* people live in this world every day and cannot help but notice that some people leave their empathy at the curb when it comes to trans* people, you run serious risks writing about how murders of trans* folks inconvenience non-trans* folks without writing anything at all about how killing trans* folks is bad and that the murder is a lot worse for the trans* person and the people who love them than the extra work could ever be for the non-trans* investigators.

This risk you run, if your comments are public enough, if they are read by enough people, will inevitably mean that someone believes that your writing demonstrates bigotry. Now, that doesn’t mean that their opinion or judgement is reflexive. it doesn’t mean it’s automatic. It’s based on actual evidence – you chose to sympathize with someone who has to do a couple of hours extra work (at full pay) and you chose not to show any sympathy for someone murdered.

Do I judge that prejudiced? Yes. But understand how I mean that. I don’t mean that you’re a horrible, irredeemable person. I don’t think you’re evil. But you don’t have to be irredeemable to engage in prejudice. The reason it causes so much harm is not because it is the human norm to constantly, consciously wish (or inflict!) harm on others. It’s because it’s easy for our thoughts to be biased in ways favorable to ourselves and our in-group and against others and their out-group. This paragraph of yours demonstrates more concern for the in-group and less concern for the out-group. It doesn’t demonstrate evil, but yes, it’s reasonable evidence of bias – what we normally call prejudice even though, strictly speaking, you’ve made no conscious judgements.

I also find it necessary to say that even if you were someone who doesn’t care at all about trans* murder victims (and I don’t think you are that person, but bear with me), you save work for coroners and detectives by, among other things, preventing murder. Even if someone really, truly only cared about the work time of non-trans* folks, actively working for a trans*-friendly, gender-liberated world would be the right thing to do.

We would love to provide less work to coroners and detectives. Trust me on this.

Overall, my biggest concern is that splitting gender from sex inadvertently creates even more strictly enforced gender stereotypes than before,

Gender is already split from sex.

There is no way you can be a fluent english speaker without having, at many points in your life, used gendered pronouns for someone without first inspecting their genitals and testing their chromosomes. Every single day you decide what pronoun to use for someone based on stereotypes and social cues. When some parent talks about their daughter, how do you know that their daughter isn’t trans* or intersex? And yet, if someone spoke about their daughter, you’d be willing to use the pronoun “she” wouldn’t you?

So there is no possibility that you can prevent gender splitting from sex. It was already done, and hundreds if not thousands of years ago, and it’s not the fault of trans* people.

Cis people split gender from sex. Cis people continue to split gender from sex every single day when they use pronouns without groping genitals or performing medical tests. If this bothers you, put the blame where it belongs: with cis people.

Overall, my biggest concern is that splitting gender from sex inadvertently creates even more strictly enforced gender stereotypes than before,

Yeah, no. Think for a moment about who opposes gender freedoms, equal treatment for women and men, equal pay for equal work, passing the ERA (if you’re in the USA), equal draft registration requirements, equal numbers of sports scholarships. Then think about who opposes trans* persons’ and communities’ rights and dignity.

Also think about the arguments that trans* advocates make. Has any trans* person – ever, anywhere – argued that we should change the law to allow emending birth certificates or passports or drivers licenses because that would allow us to better police gender expression?

Trans people have consistently voiced advocacy for gender liberation. Supporting trans* dignity will only make our voices more respected, less dismissed as fringe or perverted or sick or crazy or evil.

Opposing trans* rights only gives more social power to the people that lead the efforts to re-closet trans* folks, to make us more feared, less respected, more dismissed as fringe, perverted, sick, crazy, and evil.

I mean, seriously, has there ever been a country that changed its laws to better accommodate trans people who then saw a corresponding drop in freedom for cis* people? Can you name even one single time that’s happened? Because if not, it seems that your fears have no evidence at all behind them, and maybe, however you feel inside, you should publicly advocate only liberation.

It’s good to know what your fears are, but it’s not good to leave them unexamined. Do you really want to oppose legal and social equality for people on the basis of fears that have no rational basis? If you do, don’t you have to admit that other people can oppose your rights with equal legitimacy if they fear that your right to abortion or working outside the home will bring an end to Western Civilization?

I mean, if your unwarranted fears can be used to deny others’ rights, why shouldn’t the right wing’s unwarranted fears be used for the same purpose?

Your fears are real. They’re valid. They’re not fake. But how you respond to your fears will reflect on your character. From what you’ve shown here, I don’t have any reason to think that your fears are based on real world evidence, much less enough evidence to justify opposing the civil, social and political rights of trans* persons. From what you’ve revealed here, it seems like you need a trusted friend who will listen to you and support you through letting your fears go.

If you have another fear with real evidence behind it, then maybe your fear will motivate you to pursue learning what’s behind it and you’ll find a valid and important reason to oppose trans* persons’ rights. Fear can lead you to information if you let it, and I’m not saying that there’s no such thing as a bad law in pursuit of a good end. Maybe fears will help you identify those laws you actually want to oppose. But from the limited amount I know based on the limited amount you’ve shared with me, that doesn’t seem to be the situation here.

But again, to be clear, I want to make sure it is known that no matter my opinions/difficulties in understanding etc, I support every single person to be able to express themselves as they choose in safety and without diminishment of their rights or personhood.

I promise to be extra slow in coming to this conclusion, and will only reach it if I determine that you’re a troll who lied about this – and that’s something that would take a lot of evidence. If you’re not lying, you shouldn’t ever worry about me ever thinking that you actually want people punished for their self-expression.

Naglfar
Naglfar
8 months ago

@Sapphire
Crip Dyke’s response covers a lot of ground and talks Bout most of the points I could possibly make on this. But a few extra things:

I know the fear from many people about transwomen especially is not of transwomen in good faith, it’s the fear of men using it in bad faith.

Going forward, it’s better to say trans* woman as two words, with or without asterisk, rather than one word. The combined word has long been used by transphobes to imply that trans* women aren’t legitimately women.

I think that’s something people say about their fear, but I think for many they say that because it’s a more acceptable way to be transphobic. It’s basically someone saying “I don’t hate your people, it I don’t want to give you equal rights because someone could abuse them.” Which of course is harmful to people who are deprived of their rights (i.e. me, Crip Dyke, and other trans* folx) and implies that that someone does, in fact hate trans* people, or at least views us as less deserving of safety than cis people.

Switch his pronouns to female and go with it.

The thing is, it’s very clear that Gilliam does not actually identify as female. He refers to himself as a man multiple times in the same interview, and he seems to be doing this as another way to mock trans people. Maybe this isn’t an issue for you, but for trans* people it’s harmful to our cause to have people work to delegitimize us.

Overall, my biggest concern is that splitting gender from sex inadvertently creates even more strictly enforced gender stereotypes than before

Crip Dyke talked about this one already, but I have a bit more to add.
This is a common argument, but I’ve never seen any evidence for it. I’m not sure how the existence of trans* people makes gender roles more rigid. If anything, accepting trans* people makes gender less rigid and segmented because it shows that anyone of any gender can be who they are. There are gender non-conforming trans* people and they exemplify this idea.

It seems like the main people trying to enforce strict gender roles are conservatives very much opposed to trans* people, and I think some of that opposition comes from a fear that trans* people can break down gender roles. I’ve never seen an instance where a society accepting trans* rights made gender more rigidly defined.

SU
SU
8 months ago

@Sapphire

Skeletons are not sexed. There may be wear on the bones that indicate childbirth and nursing, and of gendered activity, for example grinding flour or fighting with weapons. There may be attributes such as clothing or accessories.

Archaeologists struggle to assign sex to stone-age skeletal finds if there are no accessories to provide context. The bog body of Windeby is an example: after 40 odd years, archaeologists still aren’t sure.

Catalpa
Catalpa
8 months ago

I am not sure I agree with it being a generational thing, because you wouldn’t tell a black child adopted by a white family that they aren’t black anymore.

Even through adoption several generational impacts remain, among them the fact that non-white (and in my country, especially indigenous) children are far more likely to be adopted by white families than visa versa, due to the prejudicial and racist nature of CPS. A loss of culture via the tearing away of one’s children is one of the ways that racist violence is carried out.

Overall, my biggest concern is that splitting gender from sex inadvertently creates even more strictly enforced gender stereotypes than before

How do you reconcile this concern with the fact that the trans community includes nonbinary people, folks who by definition flaunt gender stereotypes by belonging fully to neither?

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Sapphire,

What do you mean by saying that trans women are insisting that female biological issues not be addressed? The only women’s issue I can think of that effects cis but not trans women is abortion rights and other issues related to the uterus and vagina. But I’ve never seen trans women argue that feminists shouldn’t fight for reproductive rights. I’m sure someone somewhere has done that, but for obvious reasons, trans people tend to understand the importance of bodily autonomy. The only thing that’s asked of cis women is that we use gender inclusive language because trans men and non binary AFAB people need abortion rights too.

Otherwise, I don’t know what issues you’re referring to. I can’t really think of anything that can only affect cis women.

Katamount
8 months ago

Welp, another to add to the “prat authors” list.

This is what gets me: unless Gilliam has some skeleton in his closet and is reflexively trying to work the media refs… he doesn’t have to sound off on this. Seriously, at 79, this is what you’re going to burn your cultural cache on?

Could it just be the need for attention in the twilight of life? Is that why these icons of yesteryear need to keep saying dumb things?

Naglfar
Naglfar
8 months ago

@Catalpa

How do you reconcile this concern with the fact that the trans community includes nonbinary people, folks who by definition flaunt gender stereotypes by belonging fully to neither?

And even among binary trans* people there’s plenty of people who don’t conform to stereotypes fully. I’m a trans* woman but I enjoy some stereotypically masculine things like woodworking or metal music.

@Katamount

Could it just be the need for attention in the twilight of life? Is that why these icons of yesteryear need to keep saying dumb things?

I think that’s part of it. They know they can easily get attention by saying reactionary crap, and it requires minimal creativity and thought.

Schnookums Von Fancypants, Naughty Basic Horse
Schnookums Von Fancypants, Naughty Basic Horse
8 months ago

Given that Gilliam was one of Roman Polanski’s defenders and is therefore completely okay with child rape, this sadly doesn’t surprise me. Disappoint yes, but not surprise.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
8 months ago

@Naglfar : I alway have a do not compute moment when people say that things like woodworking or metal musics are supposed to be gendered. There’s really a random gender slapped on everything.

(also that I am *very* happy to not have to deal with thoses problem by way of various privileges. I feel for thoses who aren’t)

Naglfar
Naglfar
8 months ago

@Ohlmann
I know, and I don’t think they should be gendered. I was listing them to prove a point about not conforming to stereotypes.

Catalpa
Catalpa
8 months ago

@WWTH

What do you mean by saying that trans women are insisting that female biological issues not be addressed?

If I wanted to be uncharitable, I could suspect that Sapphire is referring to the idea that cis women should consider all people with penises inherently threatening and dangerous to people with vaginas, and the “concerns of female biological issues” is a euphemism for not wanting trans women to be able to use women’s restrooms, but I’m willing to be proven wrong if Sapphire can provide a different concern she’s referring to.

@Naglfar

And even among binary trans* people there’s plenty of people who don’t conform to stereotypes fully. I’m a trans* woman but I enjoy some stereotypically masculine things like woodworking or metal music.

Oh for sure! I’m certain that a huge number of trans people would find it a major relief to not have to conform to an aggressively high standard of femininity or masculinity in order to be considered to be “serious” in their gender identification.

Cis women experience some pushback for having stereotypically masculine traits or interests, but trans women seem to face significantly more pushback (and often interrogation of their identity) for any kind of perceived butchness or masculine interests. Dismantling gendered stereotypes would be really beneficial to trans and cis folks alike, but I think it would be even more welcome among the trans community.

I was bringing up NB folks as the most obvious and undeniable example of folks who defy gender stereotypes, but they’re certainly not the only ones.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
8 months ago

See also : how a lot of people try to assign to each member of an homosexual couple a role, because clearly all relation should be between someone that “act like a man” and someone that “act like a lady”. Which, well, is not right, but is not even wrong, more like “2+2=duck” meaningless blather.

I suspect the fear that “separating gender and sex make gender even more stifling” come from people that reason like that. They should remember that while separating gender and sex is a step, the end goal is to minimize gender anyway, so …

mobiusclimber
mobiusclimber
8 months ago

Both the Pistols and the Clash were manufactured bands. The fact that the Clash was put together in the same manner as a “boy band” would be is one which isn’t as well known, solely because the Pistols all seem to hate Malcolm McLaren so took to calling him out every chance they got.

As for the revolution, I don’t even think it’s possible unless society starts to change. There won’t be a revolution without social upheaval, and an anarchist society isn’t going to grow out of the ashes of a patriarchy unless and until the groundwork for that has been laid. It literally can’t happen. So punks saying otherwise are just deluding themselves and probably trying to cling to the parts of the status quo that they enjoy (ie, patriarchy).

Crip Dyke
8 months ago

@Ohlmann:

There was an infamous (in queer women’s circles) video that made the rounds in the late90s/early00s where some people were going to middle schools to educate folks on how not to bully others. (I’m pretty sure that this was in the aftermath of the Matthew Shepard murder, but maybe I’m wrong about that.)

Anyway… two women who were in a relationship were there, speaking, and one of the kids asked, “How do you decide which one of you is the man?” When they replied that neither was the man, that’s the point, the kid followed up with, “Then how do you decide which one is in charge?”

@everyone, re: Sapphire
Sapphire doesn’t seem like a troll to me, and I know from experience that when you fuck up it can be hard to take in that information. I’ve already dropped a big bomb by calling out the language that privileged cis coroners over trans* murder victims.

I don’t make any rules for anyone else, but since hearing your language is hurtful is already hard, maybe we all (including me) can refrain from making any more comments directed to Sapphire until they’ve had a chance to digest the current ones? Whether we intend it or not, there can be a feeling of dog piling, and this person seems to me like they want to be able to internalize new information and they want to make good decisions.

I just don’t want to make that harder than it already is for anyone when hearing that one’s been operating mistakenly, and I do want to give them a little space to try to move from this place where they are to somewhere better.

Thanks for considering this, everyone.

Naglfar
Naglfar
8 months ago

@Crip Dyke

maybe we all (including me) can refrain from making any more comments directed to Sapphire until they’ve had a chance to digest the current ones? Whether we intend it or not, there can be a feeling of dog piling, and this person seems to me like they want to be able to internalize new information and they want to make good decisions.

That sounds about right. I’ll wait to respond further.