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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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rv97
rv97
8 months ago

@mobiusclimber

I agree. Unfortunately, many institutions holding repressive norms still have a great deal of influence unto people. If not certain political parties, I can list mainstream religion, philosophers and a few strands of science used for harm (namely consumer psychology and evolution psychology, but others too) as to blame for this.

As someone mentioned here, it’s also because it’s deemed easier to see the out-group with less favour.

I do wish we can enact change though, but I feel like in some aspects, I’d get death threats and die and not even get anything achieved. I wish a meteor would hit this world soon because I am getting sick of how quickly it’s turning to fascism to solve its problems. Leaders like Trump, Bolsonaro, Erdogan, Putin, those in central and eastern Europe, Australia’s Liberal Party and others elsewhere are all orchestrating this terrifying, controlling and hateful norm.

Specialffrog
Specialffrog
8 months ago

@Sapphire: with regards to Rachel Dolezal, I would recommend this article before asserting that she wasn’t doing any appropriating: https://www.thestranger.com/features/2017/04/19/25082450/the-heart-of-whiteness-ijeoma-oluo-interviews-rachel-dolezal-the-white-woman-who-identifies-as-black

Cohen the Librarian
Cohen the Librarian
8 months ago

Terry, Terry, Terry. Love the cartoons, but the mere fact that you feel threatened by things like gender equality, transgender people and, um, people’s bounderies doesn’t make you the comic. It makes you the joke.

Sapphire
Sapphire
8 months ago

Okie dokie. This is going to be long, since many of the replies were long, and quite a few of the “disagreements” about what I said, assumed my words in the worst possible way prior to asking what I meant, or possibly seeing it another way.

I decided to join this conversation not because *all* conversations devolve into it, but many. Not necessarily ones I’ve participated in, but have been able to witness IRL, online and in the media. I decided to give this group a chance. It’s a mixed bag so far. In general, I try to not use absolute words, but if I do, please trust that it is a mistake and I am well aware that there are no absolutes when dealing with people.

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

No, but I am willing to bet that no one was using female pronouns and saying they are an asshole to do it means you will not allow people to self identify without judgement. Yes, this is on the very far end of the spectrum of issues because have no questions/disagreements with the near end of the spectrum. The basic things don’t give me the same pause as the extremes, because I think of inconsistencies and then it just bugs my mind because I can’t circle the square.

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”.

I think this is very misperceived by modern males frequently. The reason many of the female separated things were created were at the request of and protection of women. It wasn’t designed to be a separate but equal situation and while some of the protection was paternalistic in the past, it continues to be a protection that is needed. Women are a protected class. As far as the law is concerned, it is just like protecting disabled people or people of color.

This is not true, and if you think it about it for a moment you would know it couldn’t be true.

Please see above, I don’t mean *any* in a true sense. Many is more appropriate, bordering on most, but definitely not all.

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.

This is a very big and honestly bizarre to me assumption. I wasn’t thinking about the trouble the coroner would go through – but rather the difficulty in identifying missing people and being able to successfully prosecute crimes against people who may have killed someone who is trans. Doe cases are so much harder to solve, because there is no context and no way to be able to follow their patterns or people they knew (who might have even witnessed the crime)

It’s not at all about the work it would cause, that literally would never have occurred to me. I was more worried about victims getting justice and families being able to find missing.

I’m not addressing the rest because none of those thoughts were ever ones that would have occurred to me.

Gender is already split from sex.

The way you mention is not the way I speak. Splitting in more than language. It started in the 70s from a societal sense.

hink 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.

Again, this is not the point of view I was taking. When someone says they are non-binary, they are saying they have changing or flexible gender identity, if I remember correctly. I think there is a risk that like our society enforces gender roles on us, like those people above, that you could grow up in that society of gender roles, not fit into the female stereotype, and have that make a girl feel less of a woman. Or an effeminate man feel like if he is effeminate, he couldn’t possibly be a boy. That’s not to say people would be brainwashing children or anything negative, just that society influences how we see ourselves and instead of being pushed into two gender roles, with the knowledge that no one conforms fully to any gender role, we inadvertently have two strict gender roles that if you don’t match, you have to be an “other”, either by saying non-binary, or maybe even starting to resent the fact that the body you were born with does not conform to what the society has said it should. It’s not like people who are trans are horrible and to be avoided, but feeling like you aren’t in the right body has to be incredibly distressing and the treatments for that are not without risk, and the stress on the person is just huge.

I’m not sure if I’m wording it in a way that is conveying my meaning well enough. But if there is a girl who displays masculine traits, or a boy who feels feminine traits, they should not feel that is outside their gender and therefore it doesn’t match their sex. If a boy is told dresses are for girls, and he likes wearing dresses, it might start to feel to him that he should be a girl (just like a girl who wears dresses and is allowed to wear dresses feels like a girl.) Now I’m not trying to say anything negative about a boy that feels like that now or in a different world, just that I feel it would cause less pain and heartache for those who don’t conform to their traditional gender roles.

I admit that part of it seems like a pipe dream, that essentially someone’s presentation is welcomed, no matter what sex they are. I understand why it’s done the way it is now, because of all the problems, but I guess I think it is something to think about for the future, once gender non conforming people have more acceptance. (though I still think there will likely be issues due to lizard brain problems that people refuse to overcome)

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.

Again to be clear, I do not oppose trans rights in the least. I just pulled this out because I want to be clear that in all this discussion, I recognize it is far more academic for me than someone who is trans, and I don’t want people to think I’m trivializing their existence or something, this is similar to the way I try to figure out all things, including things that affect me. I am not trying to say my feelings or opinions are more worthwhile than anyone’s else or that I think they shouldn’t exist, and I ask these questions about cis issues, and general human being issues.

Also, when I say fear, I mean it in the figurative sense, not the literal sense – I meant that I was concerned for or unsure if something is the optimal situation. Language and tone are easy to misunderstand on the internet. I would ask, if possible, please try and assume that I am not arguing something horrible, or if you think I might be, ask for clarification first prior to deciding I meant the worst thing. I probably didn’t, just suck at getting the information that is in my brain communicated to you in a way that you can see what I see.

My brain does not follow the same patterns as many, and I know some people in the past have seen my point of views and way of viewing patterns as very alien and confusing. So I can frequently fail in my attempts to translate that view to the page. Especially when the assumption is that I’m trying to say something bad or hurtful. If I mean to be harmful, I will own it. If I don’t, I will apologize for my poor communication ability or ignorance and hope we can move on.

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 didn’t know that, and will endeavor to change in the future. For the record, I would like to note that I very much tried to never use the term woman to indicate a cis woman. If I missed an instance, I am sorry, I was viewing it a women is split into two groups “ciswomen” and “transwomen” (just used to demonstrate that I referred to cis women consistently as well) Again, I am going to try to not forget and type it the wrong way in the future, but just wanted to share why I had previously felt it wasn’t othering, since cis women were referred to in the same way.

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.

I definitely can see how it could be used for that, but I also see how it could be used for the opposite effect. I also understand that people’s experiences are what described and I’m not trying to deny them or belittle them.

I few it as similar to the psychological finding that if you confront an aggressor with and unexpected acceptance of something that isn’t *inherently* harmful (ie self identification even if in bad faith) they struggle to come up with arguments about why you shouldn’t do that and it causes them to reevaluate what they are saying. It’s not an option for many and I’m not saying anyone should be required to do it, or they are bad if they don’t, but it is a technique that could be used for those in a safe enough position to use it. Similar to the concept that if someone is trying to steal my coat, I instead give it to them, along with all my cash and credit cards while asking to be able to keep my picture ID because it’s a pain in the ass to replace. I know many people view that as terrible, but it has unexpected success in disarming people and deescalating dangerous situations. Again, not universal, and not easy, but it is something that can work.

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.

As said above, I’m looking at it from a different angle. There is some evidence in some religious groups, it’s more acceptable to be trans and strait than cis and gay. And since treatment carries some risk (any drug carries risk and for many the risk is far outweighed by the benefits) It would be nice if someone could live as they wanted without having to assume additional medical risks, it would be preferable. Again, this is only referring to people who might feel trans because their community is so unsupportive of gay people, I’m not insinuating that all or even most trans people are actually gay people who are “confused”, but that it is a phenomenon that has happened and finding greater acceptance for them would be important too.

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.

Yes they are. The shape of the pelvis is different in males and females.

https://www.discovermagazine.com/health/skeletal-studies-show-sex-like-gender-exists-along-a-spectrum

Above link I think has a deceptive title, because while it is saying it is not always clear whether a skeleton is male or female, they do try and sex it, they are just better at saying “indeterminate” now, instead of assuming male.

https://naturalhistory.si.edu/education/teaching-resources/written-bone/skeleton-keys/male-or-female

The above highlights the differences in male and female bones. And definitely there will be people whose skeletons are more androgynous for whatever reason, but that also lessens the ability of people to be able to identify and help find justice for them.

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.

I know this isn’t how it happens, I’m just using this as a demonstration: if a poor white child was adopted to a rich black family, they would gain untold generational benefits that they wouldn’t have access to otherwise. Again, just a way to demonstrate why my thought process is the way it is, how generational benefits can be altered by something other than race. Unfortunately in the US, there is generational poverty that is suffered by minorities more than white people, because of the racist institutions keeping them in poverty, through explicit and subtle ways, and it makes it hard to separate race and wealth and the affect on a person’s life and path and obstacles.

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?

That it could subconsciously force people to think they non binary because they exhibit non-conforming traits and so then can’t be a man or woman. It’s not inherently wrong, but it seems to be an extra layer of complication that isn’t necessary. Again, not saying trans people are trying to convert children, are a threat to children, or would harm children at a rate any higher than cis people. (because I know that is absolutely not true) It’s that societal pressures can be unintended and unexpected.

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.

This is partially what I am referring to, though what little I’ve seen has not been about inclusive language, it’s that some want those issues taken off the agenda for women’s rights, since not every woman was AFAB. I’m not going to say it is an every day thing, on this aspect, but it is a small section. I see it more with gender protected space, where the goal isn’t to exclude trans women, but to not traumatize cis women, and I can understand why that feels (and is) exclusionary, but I also understand as well that there is a physical vulnerability and cultural internalization of male violence that necessitate women to still be able to be protected. Like places that are trying to help victims of racial violence might feel unsafe if white people are around, no matter what the intention, safety of those white people, or amount they could help potentially. Or even if they were victims themselves somehow. And that traumatized person needs to be able to have a space to go where they can feel protected. I know that is a hard thing to accept for trans women, because even though they are women, they may carry the societal baggage that comes with having a penis and that’s not fair.

I think this is a situation of two protected classes whose rights can come in conflict and that makes it an incredibly difficult issue to solve, moreso than it seems on the surface.

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.

The bathrooms I don’t give a hoot about. There are private stalls and a lot of problems could be solved if all the bathrooms were gender or sex neutral and people were just given privacy. That doesn’t bother me in the least. Whatever bathroom makes you feel comfortable is cool with me.

I’m more referring to rape crisis, domestic violence etc. It is not that the trans women are a threat in reality, but it is a deep-seated cultural fear that many cis women internalize thanks to the patriarchy. I don’t think cis women *should* consider all men as threatening, but unfortunately, in many ways, some women have been conditioned to feel that way. It’s simply the current reality.

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 absolutely agree that it would benefit all and I think you misunderstand my way of viewing it. It’s not that trans people want to more strictly enforce the stereotypes, it’s just I see a path where it is an unintended, unforeseen consequence. I definitely don’t think it is the goal of anyone who is trans or allied to enforce that. It’s more about how society “forces” us in all sorts of roles.

And I read the article linked and I respect the author’s view, but she also came into with a very biased view and of course would view her behavior as appropriation, because she doesn’t feel it is ever possible to self identify race. By her definitions, it is appropriation. That isn’t the only possible viewing of it. I will admit though, I have not read the woman’s book, I’m going largely from the way the story went down and comments I’ve heard people make. But even if she isn’t black the way that some other people would be black, if that’s how she views herself, it is black to her. Black people aren’t all alike and some of them are even crazy (see any trump supporting person of color)

Thank you for giving me some space to reply, if only because this has gotten disturbingly wrong, because I get really wordy when trying to be overly careful to ensure I’m not misunderstood or thought to be saying something I’m not.

Catalpa
Catalpa
8 months ago

The reason many of the female separated things were created were at the request of and protection of women. It wasn’t designed to be a separate but equal situation and while some of the protection was paternalistic in the past, it continues to be a protection that is needed.

You’re shifting the goalposts here. Crip Dyke was responding to your assertion that the government-issued gender markers don’t matter because legally men and women are supposed to be treated the same.

Crip Dyke pointed out that men and women are NOT treated the same, and your response is “well okay but the difference is good actually!”

Which doesn’t defend your original point that identifiers don’t matter, and in fact basically contradicts it.

I was more worried about victims getting justice and families being able to find missing.

Is your argument that trans people shouldn’t present as the gender they are because in the event that they are murdered, it might be more difficult to get justice for them?

Because that sounds similar to those “well if women don’t want to be sexually assaulted, they just shouldn’t go to parties or go out at night or live their lives freely. It’s for their own good.” arguments. There’s some logic in it, but being expected to severely alter your life because the worst might happen is a pretty shitty thing to labor under.

I know this isn’t how it happens, I’m just using this as a demonstration: if a poor white child was adopted to a rich black family, they would gain untold generational benefits that they wouldn’t have access to otherwise.

Generational impacts are not merely economic. There are also cultural and historical aspects to consider, as I mentioned in my post above.

Even leaving that aside, a hypothetical of something that happens surpassingly rarely and ignores the reality of what marginalized people actually deal with is… Not a great argument?

For example there’s no reason for a lone woman to be more afraid of a strange man approaching her at night, because women can also rape and kill men, and he’s alone too, so they’re both theoretically in the same amount of danger, aren’t they?

That it could subconsciously force people to think they non binary because they exhibit non-conforming traits and so then can’t be a man or woman.

Is your argument that if society no longer considers “penis= man” and “vagina=woman”, that the only form of gender would become over-exagerated stereotypes of masculinity and femininity, or neither?

Do you have any evidence to support this assertion? If gender identity is so fragile that without a solid framework based on genitals it collapses and huge numbers of people have an identity crisis, why do trans people exist in the first place?

Or is this just something that’s bad that you think might possibly happen, so it’s better not to risk it?

Because that latter option isn’t very persuasive. I can come up with a lot of scare tactics, too. People shouldn’t be able to have abortions because what if everyone decides to have an abortion and then humanity dies out? We shouldn’t have welfare because what if no one decides to work and then the economy collapses? It’s scary so we shouldn’t do it!

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
8 months ago

Also, it forget that fundamentally, a lot of nonbinary are *both* a man and a woman. Not being “neither”. I don’t see much problem in having everyone think they are a mix of both, probably on average heavily weighted toward one side. A lot of people live like that currently and don’t seem to have problem with it.

————

To be honest, I have the impression that Sapphire struggle with the mighty problem of being a sea lion, what with asking repeatedly about the same question. I may be wrong, but people out there, don’t burn out answering Sapphire if you feel that it’s a lot of effort.

Sapphire
Sapphire
8 months ago

Again, I am couching everything with as many disclaimers as possible, would it be possible for people to not assume I’m arguing against them, or taking the most offensive position, but that I’m trying to have a good faith discussion? I’m trying to have an exchange of ideas, not argue against anyone’s rights. I sort of am starting to feel like bending over backwards to verbalize that though doesn’t matter, because it will be assumed to be meant the worst conceivable way.

You’re shifting the goalposts here. Crip Dyke was responding to your assertion that the government-issued gender markers don’t matter because legally men and women are supposed to be treated the same.

I’m not meaning to shift goalposts. I’m trying to clarify what I originally meant. You can say the same about race is what I’m trying to say, it’s not that it is exclusive to gender.

Is your argument that trans people shouldn’t present as the gender they are because in the event that they are murdered, it might be more difficult to get justice for them?

No, again, that’s taking my thoughts in the worst possible way and presuming my intention is to keep people from presenting the way they want.

I just was saying it because it seemed to be something that could occur, and maybe to think that if a loved one is trans and missing, despite their gender identification, it could be helpful for missing person reports to include biological sex. Not as a way to shame them, lessen their status as a person or a gender, but merely to help with potential identification so their loved ones can be found.

I like to think of potential pitfalls and solutions. Trans people could be at a disadvantage that way, and wondering if there is a way to fix that disadvantage without dehumanizing them.

Generational impacts are not merely economic. There are also cultural and historical aspects to consider, as I mentioned in my post above.

Even leaving that aside, a hypothetical of something that happens surpassingly rarely and ignores the reality of what marginalized people actually deal with is… Not a great argument?

For example there’s no reason for a lone woman to be more afraid of a strange man approaching her at night, because women can also rape and kill men, and he’s alone too, so they’re both theoretically in the same amount of danger, aren’t they?

I’m not sure I agree with that as a definition of race. That loss of culture and history can happen in many situations, but isn’t limited to race.

I’m not trying to talk about what marginalized people deal with. I’m saying I disagree that race is generational.

With your last example, I’m not sure how it fits into the discussion. Women do have that fear of men, and while trans women feel it, it’s not the same as the culturally ingrained fear that many cis women have. That’s not to say it’s wrong or makes them less of a woman, but it is different. Which is similar to the cultural fears ingrained in different races (for good and for ill). I’m trying to say that I see the same factors in race and gender.

Is your argument that if society no longer considers “penis= man” and “vagina=woman”, that the only form of gender would become over-exagerated stereotypes of masculinity and femininity, or neither?

Again, not an argument, just something I thought about and wanted discussion about and no, this isn’t an accurate description of what I was thinking about. It was that strict gender roles can make people feel othered without intending. I am a female that exhibits more “masculine” traits. Combine that with my brain, and it means that I have life experiences that often conflict with the “typical” experience of women.

Because of this, I have felt subtle impression/feeling/pressure(? not really the word I’m wanting, but I can’t think of a better one) from social groups/society that I am less of a woman because I don’t fit those boxes. That I need some sort of different identifier because I don’t fit the typical gender role, in order to justify my experiences and opinions. I think that could potentially magnify with generations, which could create a new set of problems.

Again, I’m not saying that means trans people shouldn’t live their lives as themselves, just it is a thought and if we could avoid negative unintended consequences by thinking about and discussing those pitfalls, there could be benefit.

Or is this just something that’s bad that you think might possibly happen, so it’s better not to risk it?

Nope, more “if this is potentially a problem, is there a better way to address it that doesn’t have the same risk that we haven’t considered yet?”

Also, it forget that fundamentally, a lot of nonbinary are *both* a man and a woman. Not being “neither”. I don’t see much problem in having everyone think they are a mix of both, probably on average heavily weighted toward one side. A lot of people live like that currently and don’t seem to have problem with it

While that is a way to look at it, it could be felt by people that by being non-binary they are neither. As I was saying before, I have felt that subconscious something that my having non traditional stereotypical experiences as a cis woman does make me less of a woman from some, and to feel more unwelcome in spaces for women internally because I’m not “woman enough”. And my experiences and background also do not fit with a man’s point of view. So that makes me at times that I am neither, which in some ways could be viewed as unconscious pressure to change how I identify myself to conform to how society has defined gender roles.

I doubt I have worded that well, so I beg all to not assume the worst or most intolerant view.

To be honest, I have the impression that Sapphire struggle with the mighty problem of being a sea lion

I think calling someone a sea lion is prejudicial way to try and shut down discussion. I am trying to have an exchange of ideas and discussion. Sea lions by definition are not working in good faith.

I am trying to make my brain understand concepts that are difficult for me, and to find ways of viewing concepts that make sense in my world view, and it is incredibly difficult to have any of these discussions because many times when you ask questions or have thoughts that are different from the strictly designated group, you are presumed to be arguing against that group, trying to harm that group or being a sea lion. This is what I referred to in my initial post about the difficulty of being able to talk about the topic without getting labeled negatively.

Naglfar
Naglfar
8 months ago

@Sapphire

While that is a way to look at it, it could be felt by people that by being non-binary they are neither.

I’m not non-binary, but from what I know about non-binary people it is an umbrella term that can contain being both a man and a woman, being neither, being something totally different, being a mix of both to varying degrees, or having no gender. So that may be true of some non-binary people but not others.

Any enbys want to weigh in?

As I was saying before, I have felt that subconscious something that my having non traditional stereotypical experiences as a cis woman does make me less of a woman from some, and to feel more unwelcome in spaces for women internally because I’m not “woman enough”.

Part of what many trans* activists and feminists are trying to do is reduce forced definitions of what it means to be a man or a woman. That is, you don’t need to have had one specific set of experiences to be a man or woman or any other gender.

And my experiences and background also do not fit with a man’s point of view. So that makes me at times that I am neither, which in some ways could be viewed as unconscious pressure to change how I identify myself to conform to how society has defined gender roles.

That’s another example of enforced gender roles and that’s part of what we’re trying to reduce. I don’t want anyone to feel pressured to change their identity or presentation. Ideally, people should be able to identify and present how they are, regardless of societal norms, and that’s the type of world we should move towards.

Hippodameia
Hippodameia
8 months ago

Sapphire, in your last comment alone, you stated four times that everyone who disagrees with you is misinterpreting your comments:

I sort of am starting to feel like bending over backwards to verbalize that though doesn’t matter, because it will be assumed to be meant the worst conceivable way.

No, again, that’s taking my thoughts in the worst possible way and presuming my intention is to keep people from presenting the way they want.

Again, not an argument, just something I thought about and wanted discussion about and no, this isn’t an accurate description of what I was thinking about.

I doubt I have worded that well, so I beg all to not assume the worst or most intolerant view.

You’re not some poor misunderstood soul who just can’t communicate clearly. Let me assure you that you’re communicating very clearly. You’re getting pushback because you’re wrong. You’ve been wrong repeatedly in this thread, as many have already demonstrated.

Before you launch another sixteen paragraph comment full of gaslighting, bad-faith accusations, and transparent emotional manipulation, please be aware that we know what you’re doing.

Catalpa
Catalpa
8 months ago

would it be possible for people to not assume I’m arguing against them, or taking the most offensive position, but that I’m trying to have a good faith discussion?

I’m not assuming anything. I specifically asked you if that was what you meant, because that was the way your comments were coming across to me and I wanted clarification.

Also, now you’re saying that we should treat people differently when they’re acting in good or bad faith? That wasn’t your position when it came to people who identity as black women in bad faith.

Or is your position that we should just be nice and civilized towards everyone regardless of their intentions?

I like to think of potential pitfalls and solutions. Trans people could be at a disadvantage that way, and wondering if there is a way to fix that disadvantage without dehumanizing them.

I see!

Generally my experience with people who just have so many “concerns” about trans identity (or about refugees or “welfare queens” or any number of marginalized people that conservatives like to target) is that they don’t give a single damn about any of the marginalized folks, and just want to distract people into talking about minutiae so that no progress can actually be made.

“Oh, we can’t address transphobia until after we fix this one thing. And that other thing, and that thing, and that one, too” ad infinitum basically.

If you don’t wish to come across as one of these folks, I would recommend specifically saying why you’re bringing up a particular point, instead of just going “hey I’ve got this concern” (and, no, slapping disclaimers on everything isn’t good enough. See: J.K. Rowling’s tweet about “identify however you want, wear what you like, but [transphobic bullshit]”. Folks acting in bad faith like disclaimers too!)

I’m not sure I agree with that as a definition of race. That loss of culture and history can happen in many situations, but isn’t limited to race.

I mean, if your definition of race consists of only skin color and physical features and none of the associated cultural and historical baggage associated with it, then I’m not going to be able to convince you of my point. Do as you like.

With your last example, I’m not sure how it fits into the discussion.

Ah, apologies, I was unclear. I was attempting to provide an analogy of an argument based on feminist theory, since you’re more familiar with that.

Essentially my attempted point was that providing a hypothetical assuming that none of the background of reality is present (“let’s assume that women are equally likely to assault men as visa versa” being equivalent to “let’s assume that rich black families adopting poor white children is just as common as visa versa!”) is not a compelling argument and is frankly a bit tone deaf.

It was that strict gender roles can make people feel othered without intending.

I’m not sold on how people being able to more freely identify as a variety of genders would lead to that in any way, and nothing of what you’ve said so far has convinced me.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Women do have that fear of men, and while trans women feel it, it’s not the same as the culturally ingrained fear that many cis women have.

Given the high rate that trans women are murdered by cis men, I think a lot of trans women feel just as much, if not more fear of men than cis women do.

Crip Dyke
8 months ago

Sapphire? I’m going to work on a reply to you.

I am, in fact, thinking generously of you, but while I’m working on this reply I think it would be helpful for you to take a moment to remember that it ultimately doesn’t matter what we think.

If we think that you’re a sea lion or a jerkface or a pooey pooey poo pants, we’re at the other end of the internet. You don’t have to come here if you don’t want to, and I’m pretty confident that no one here would try to follow you across the internet to follow up on a conversation that you don’t want to have.

You’ve got some safety, here. It’s not the same as comfort (something I’ll address more later) but it is safety: you get to leave whenever you want and people won’t follow you.

If it gets too much, you can walk away, temporarily or forever. None of us here will think worse of you because we don’t actually know you. Even if we think badly of some internet name, Sapphire, were we to ever randomly meet each other in real life, you’d still start out with a fresh chance to make a good impression.

In the meantime, you have your own ethical standards, your own ideas of what makes a good person. It is far more important that you be consistent with your own values than that you live up to anyone else’s. Look inside yourself, and if you can be satisfied with what you find there, it won’t matter how much I (or anyone else) likes some paragraph you wrote on the internet one time.

Crip Dyke
8 months ago

First up for Sapphire, let’s take:

In general, I try to not use absolute words, but if I do, please trust that it is a mistake and I am well aware that there are no absolutes when dealing with people.

and

I would ask, if possible, please try and assume that I am not arguing something horrible, or if you think I might be, ask for clarification first prior to deciding I meant the worst thing. I probably didn’t, just suck at getting the information that is in my brain communicated to you in a way that you can see what I see.

You’ve put various statements like these in your reply. I want to explain how they put me in a bind. I can’t know what’s in your brain. I’m not telepathic. I can only respond to words you write in your comments. If it becomes wrong to criticize your words, then we can’t really have a conversation at all.

I can act as if you’re a good person, but you being a good person has nothing to do with whether or not your words are good words, your sentences are good sentences, your arguments are good arguments, or your statements are accurate statements.

I’m not judging you good or bad. But I am going to judge your words, because otherwise there’s no dialog to be had.

So while you ask me to remember that you’re a good person who means no ill, I ask you to remember that when I critique your words, I’m critiquing your words. I’m not saying anything about you as a person. If your words seem callous, I’ll say they seem callous. If your words seem wonderfully inventive or clever, I’ll say that.

Now, in reality, you might have seemed callous because a slip of the mouse accidentally deleted the word “not” and changed the whole meaning of your sentence and while the sentence seems callous, you are obviously not callous at all.

Meanwhile, i can say your words are wonderfully inventive and clever while you know that those were lines from an old movie that you just copied and pasted, and thus even if the words are inventive or clever, they don’t reflect any inventiveness or cleverness in you.

Get it? Your words are separate from your person. I’m going to focus on your words. I’m not going to even try to tell you what kind of person you are.

Crip Dyke
8 months ago

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

No, but I am willing to bet that no one was using female pronouns and saying they are an asshole to do it means you will not allow people to self identify without judgement.

This sentence is grammatically a bit weird. I’m not sure what you’re saying here, but I will point out that I don’t give a fuck if Jerry Falwell “judges” me while I’m getting queer married or changing my passport’s sex identifier or working at Planned Parenthood or praying at a mosque. In fact, it would be really, really bad if society tried to punish Falwell for “judging” others. That’s thought crime and even attempting to punish thought crime leads to incredibly bad consequences.

As for whether Falwell should be allowed to announce that judgement, well, to a reasonable degree that answer is also yes. Free speech isn’t absolute, but it is important. If Falwell repeatedly calls my boss to describe how my passport prays to a gay, muslim abortionist, the problem isn’t that Falwell said something out loud. The problem is harassment. If you do not discriminate, say in jobs or housing or access to voting or health care, and you do not harass, merely announcing that he thinks that I or my sapient passport are assholes isn’t something that Falwell should be punished over.

So this whole thing about allowing people to self-identify without judgement? I don’t believe in it. We’re always going to be judged by others. What matters are things like harassment and discrimination. The only reason this is complicated at all is because of relationships that are hard to escape, like relationships with one’s parents or college roommates. In those situations, stopping someone from announcing their judgements feels like an impingement on their rights, if they’re doing that in their own home or dorm room. But if the effect is the same (or worse) as the effects of harassment by strangers, then obviously repeatedly voicing those judgements is a problem. And, yet, we are reluctant to call such things harassment because the person doing the harassing isn’t physically following someone. The person doing the harassing is only speaking out in the place that they live … which the victim can’t escape.

My position on such things is equally clear: I don’t want to take away a person’s self-determination. But I also don’t want to take away the freedom of thought that is necessary to form judgements or the freedom of speech necessary to say what one believes. But there comes a point where the person hearing you already knows what you believe. At that point, you’re probably crossing the line into harassment (or abuse) and I oppose that, even if you’re doing it inside your own home or church.

So, yeah. I don’t have the right to self-identify or determine the structure of my own life without judgement. I have the right to self-determine. Others have the right to judge. That’s it.

Crip Dyke
8 months ago

There are all kinds of segregated government programs…

I think this is very misperceived by modern males frequently. The reason many of the female separated things were created were at the request of and protection of women. It wasn’t designed to be a separate but equal situation and while some of the protection was paternalistic in the past, it continues to be a protection that is needed. Women are a protected class. As far as the law is concerned, it is just like protecting disabled people or people of color.

So, you’re probably not a lawyer, and you should know that women are not a protected class in US law. Rather, sex and gender are protected classifications. This means that discrimination against anyone on the basis of sex and, to a weird and insufficient extent, gender is wrong. Whether or not the discrimination is wrong doesn’t actually depend on whether or not the person is actually a woman. Discrimination against men is equally wrong – not more, not less, just the same.

That said, I went to law school in Canada and we in fact have our own laws up here which are not always identical to the US. Although we don’t speak of “protected classes” we do have a fairly similar concept up here which is used to determine when (and to what extent) affirmative action and similar programs are legal. The situation in Australia and New Zealand is fairly similar. The situation in the UK is something you’ll have to ask Alan about.

But the point is that wherever you’re from, “protected class” has nothing to do with being able to use public restrooms.

When I said race is different from sex, I said – and I stand by saying – that you don’t get a race marker on your passport or driver’s licence that makes certain rooms legal for you to enter and certain rooms illegal for you to enter. And yet the government has decided it will list a marker of so-called “legal sex”, and the type of marker you receive makes it legal or illegal to enter certain rooms.

In other words, if two people enter the same public bathroom and do exactly the same activities in exactly the same way, one could be arrested while one is immune from prosecution solely on the basis of a difference in that legal sex marker. The fact that governments put that marker on your ID and reserve the right to arrest you and jail you on the basis of that marker makes sex very different from race.

For this reason, a movement demanding the right to change one’s legal sex in government records is inherently different than a movement to change one’s legal race in government records.

Please recognize that.

And I mean that literally: please acknowledge that you’ve heard and agree that trans* advocacy movements as they currently exist in relation to transsexual, transgender, non-binary, agender and other gender atypical folks is dramatically different than any hypothetical movement advocating transracial rights to self-identification.

Naglfar
Naglfar
8 months ago

@Crip Dyke

my passport prays to a gay, muslim abortionist

How do I get a passport that does this? I’m pretty sure mine doesn’t do that.

Oh, and great response to Sapphire. Much better than what I could have done, and presents some new arguments I hadn’t heard before.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
8 months ago

@ crip dyke

The situation in the UK is something you’ll have to ask Alan about.

Oh gawd please don’t; he’ll just use it as an excuse to bang on about how vegans are now a protected class.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/jan/03/ethical-veganism-is-a-belief-protected-by-law-tribunal-rules

But to answer the actual question…

The Equality Act 2010, inter alia, prohibits discrimination and/or unfavourable treatment based on a ‘protected characteristic’. The Act lists nine separate protected characteristics. They are: age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity.

Crip Dyke
8 months ago

About the murder thing. You originally said,

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.

After my critique, you replied:

This is a very big and honestly bizarre to me assumption. I wasn’t thinking about the trouble the coroner would go through – but rather the difficulty in identifying missing people and being able to successfully prosecute crimes against people who may have killed someone who is trans.

Yeah, who do you think identifies them, if not the coroners and the detectives – exactly the people that I said? If you’re worried about the difficulty identifying missing people, you’re worried about the work of coroners and detectives.

So I’m not assuming anything. I’m just reading the words you put on the internet and ignoring the words that you kept inside your head. I have to do that. Your words on the internet are all I have.

Moreover, don’t forget that I led off with,

You should know this comes across pretty badly.

I didn’t say your thoughts are bad thoughts. I didn’t say your attitude is a bad attitude. What I said was that you come across badly. And you do. The appropriate thing to do is say thank you.

Whoops! Thank you

you might begin,

Yeah, I had a lot more in my head than that, but obviously if I only write about the identification process and add nothing about how I actually care about the victim, that certainly does send the wrong message. Thanks again for not assuming my words are always identical to my thoughts and helping me get a better version of my message out there.

you might conclude.

I’m trying to help you. I didn’t say you are a bad person, I said it comes across badly to talk only about the problems other people will have doing identifying work and not how much it sucks that a trans* person got murdered. And I don’t back down from that. It really, really sounds bad.

And when you take the time to go on about osteoanthropological determination of biological sex, you’re compounding the error. The problem with your original statement wasn’t that you failed to include enough peer reviewed literature. It’s that the words you wrote didn’t include anything in them that expressed sympathy with your hypothetical murder victims. You fix that by expressing your concern for murdered trans* folk, not by linking the latest cool science.

No matter what’s in your thoughts, sometimes things you say sound bad. I didn’t say you were bad person, I said that what you actually wrote gave a bad impression. That’s the perfect time to show how much compassion you really have. It’s not the perfect time to declare how I responded to be irrelevant because I didn’t telepathically know your secret thoughts.

You want us to read you generously. It’s easier to do that when you read us generously. I’m not attacking you, I’m saying your words sounded bad. Can you understand that? Can you please understand how a trans person who has been the victim of more than one anti-trans hate crime and has been threatened with death many, many times might feel negatively about a paragraph that speaks clinically of trans* murder victims, with no sympathy in sight, with the only words of concern about some identification process that is going to be performed by people who are still alive?

Use those empathy skills. You ask us to see you. See us, too.

Crip Dyke
8 months ago

Gender is already split from sex.

The way you mention is not the way I speak. Splitting in more than language. It started in the 70s from a societal sense.

You’re going to have to say a lot more about this, because I think you’re probably quite, quite wrong, but without more details I can’t know for sure whether your wrong or exactly where.

You say, It started in the 70s from a societal sense. But no. People had stereotypes before the 70s. Stereotypes are one important part of social gender and they are definitely not biological sex.

Nothing “started” in the 70s that hadn’t been happening for hundreds and thousands of years. Even Simone de Beauvoir’s statement, “One is not born a woman, but becomes one,” is an observation of a process that already existed, was already well established, in her 1940s Parisian environment. Moreover, that’s not dissimilar from things articulated by certain suffragists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries or, really, from some of the observations in Vindicatipn of the Rights of Woman, the famous feminist treatise by Wollstonecraft, the English francophile writing near London after returning from Paris where she was exposed to the ideas of Rousseau and some other influential thinkers.

Again, I’m happy to learn more about exactly what you mean, but you can’t just say, “I’m talking about the thing that happened in the 70s” and expect that clears everything up.

===>And as a separate note, I notice that you did not admit that you use words to describe people using gendered pronouns without checking genitals and/or chromosomes. But I’m confident that you do this. So what do you use? You use social cues and stereotypes. This is a separation of gender from biology. It would be nice if you could admit that this is something that you do.

Crip Dyke
8 months ago

I think there is a risk that like our society enforces gender roles on us, like those people above, that you could grow up in that society of gender roles, not fit into the female stereotype, and have that make a girl feel less of a woman. Or an effeminate man feel like if he is effeminate, he couldn’t possibly be a boy

You realize that something kind of like this has been happening all through human history, with different cultures, with different stereotypes, with different levels of strictness of enforcement, right? We have good reasons to believe that a certain number of people are going to grow up feeling like they aren’t the gender society tells them that they are no matter what rules society makes up for determining your gender for you. So it can’t be the mere existence of stereotypes that causes this. And, also, this is again an argument for self-determination. If society is never going to get everyone’s gender right when dictating from the outside, why not let individuals determine for themselves how they want to interact with gendered systems and schema?

with the knowledge that no one conforms fully to any gender role, we inadvertently have two strict gender roles that if you don’t match, you have to be an “other”, either by saying non-binary, or maybe even starting to resent the fact that the body you were born with does not conform to what the society has said it should.

It might be useful to you to think about how this is similar to the concerns of sexist men who object to feminism. They frequently tell us that if we say that abortion is an option, someone is going to think that abortion is mandatory. They use this as an argument for denying women control over themselves.

When you have concerns that providing people choice will result in some people making a bad choice, even if you don’t say the next part out loud (the part that says, “and therefore choice is a bad thing”) the social context in which you’re speaking leaves people with no reason to think you mean anything else. If you’re only bringing this up because you have fears you know are going to lead us to bad, authoritarian policy places, you can say,

“I fear that in a nation of 300 million people, some folks are going to be fucked up and tell someone that they must not be the gender they are because of some violation of stereotype! …. BUT I know that is not an argument for less autonomy. I know that’s an argument for better supporting individual’s choices. I don’t need you to talk me into a different policy, I just need support around my fears. Tell me everything is going to work out okay, would you?”

And your fear is reasonable. I know because I’m trans* and I had people important to me tell me that I wasn’t a man because of various different crap reasons. Now, as it happens, I felt no stress whatsoever when they said that I wasn’t a man (or boy). Thinking of myself as “not-man” or “not-masculine” wasn’t stressful. Thinking of myself as feminine was only slightly stressful. And thinking of myself as a woman wasn’t stressful at all. Then I grew up and I’m a woman who wears jeans instead of miniskirts and almost never wears makeup, but enjoys dying her hair all the time and painting her nails once or twice a year. But here’s the big thing: they couldn’t know that. It could easily have been that I was an androgynous guy, but still a man. If it happened to me, it has to have happened to guys like that. So your fear is reasonable.

But, and here’s the important thing, if you’re just looking for support and you’re not trying to argue a point or change minds, why are you visiting a website where no one knows you?

I’m not saying it’s impossible that this is the best place for you to get support. There have been lots of feminists who have been isolated in the past. There have been lots of feminists who don’t have any in-person feminist friends. It sucks, but it happens.

But it doesn’t happen that often. So when you come here and say these things about your fears, you really sound to others not like you’re a best friend looking for a hug. You sound like you’re a stranger who thinks that too much tolerance for trans* people (and especially NB people?) is a bad thing.

Why do you sound like that? Because we’re not best friends and because there are literally millions and millions of people who think trans* people need to back off on the advocacy. We can only guess where you fit in our social milieu unless you tell us.

Even now I don’t really believe that you’re just coming here for a hug. So what is it you want? Are you feeling like your fears are telling you trans* advocacy is going too far, but you don’t trust them, so you want to hear an argument that helps you kick your fear to the corner where you know it belongs? What is it?

We can’t sympathize with you if we don’t know what’s going on for you. And until we understand your reasons for repeating the same messages that other people are using to oppose trans* rights, the most logical explanation is that if you’re repeating the words of people who oppose trans* rights, then you yourself oppose trans* rights. In fact, that’s where the suspicion about sealioning comes from. Sealions (as opposed to sea lions) are polite by definition. They say, “I really, really support your rights,” right before they, “but I am concerned with X. Can you provide me with an explanation of why I should support your rights if they end up causing bad consequence X?”

It may not seem fair to compare you to those folks because you know what’s in your head. But because actual sealions deceptively employ the language of people having a conversation in bad faith, it is inevitable that when strangers come in to a trans* positive or feminist or anti-racist space and talk about their “concerns” with trans* advocacy or feminism or anti-racism they’re going to sound like sealions. Now, unless you’re lying to us and you really are a sealion that’s not your fault. But those jerkfaces do exist, and you are a stranger in trans* positive space expressing your concerns about trans* advocacy leading to bad outcomes. So there’s going to be some similarity there.

The only way through that uncomfortable situation is to simply stick around. Participate in conversations in good faith. Don’t ask repetitive questions – if you have a concern and you bring it up once, you get your answer and drop it. Eventually people will develop a certain amount of trust and confidence that you’re here because you like the people here and generally want to join with us in having good conversations and creating a better world.

It’s not the fault of newcomers who are acting in good faith that sealions have poisoned some conversations, but it is the reality of the internet. Don’t worry: if you’re hear for good reasons, you’ll gain trust and respect and even friendship here soon enough.

Crip Dyke
8 months ago

If a boy is told dresses are for girls, and he likes wearing dresses, it might start to feel to him that he should be a girl (just like a girl who wears dresses and is allowed to wear dresses feels like a girl.)

Yes, this is true. But if people are telling that boy that he must be a girl, the problem is with people who are trying to enforce stereotypes. Trans* people are doing the opposite of that.

We are the ones fighting hardest to end stereotypes. We are also the ones who suffer the most from the enforcement of stereotypes.

So whether or not it’s your intention, the feeling that people get when reading these words is that you’re blaming the victim.

If Sapphire really cares about this situation,

your readers will ask themselves,

why doesn’t Sapphire take this concern to some community that actually values the enforcement of stereotypes?

Again, this is an example of something you’re writing that simply comes across badly.

That’s not to say people would be brainwashing children or anything negative

But people do brainwash children. All the time. You find it most often in orthodox religious communities, deeply devout groups of people whose religion is conservative in tone almost always work their asses off to force kids to accept that there are only certain ways they are allowed to be, and that those ways are dependent on sex and gender.

It feels… odd, that you’re saying people wouldn’t be brainwashing children. People already are. Trans* advocates and feminists are fighting that, but it’s far from over.

Now, probably you mean something like, “I’m not afraid that trans* advocates or trans* people will be the ones doing the brainwashing,” but again, we only have the words you type, not the words still inside your head. And so, once again, we have something that sounds weirdly prioritized.

We’re well aware that trans* people aren’t the threat to gender liberation. We’re well aware that many people are threats to gender liberation. So your information isn’t new, even if you phrased it in the better way I suggested you might in the previous paragraph (if that does, indeed, reflect your thinking). So what purpose does it serve?

Again, it could just be that you’re feeling nervous and confused and have to have some place to talk about this stuff and happened to show up here. But maybe you’ve heard the statement that it’s not the job of women to end sexism, it’s the job of men?

It’s not the job of trans* people to end cissexism. It’s the job of cis people to do that.

Imagine, just for a second, that a man walks into a feminist space where you’re participating and says, “I have concerns about where all this feminism is going. I’m TOTALLY pro-woman, but I just want you to talk to me about these real concerns that I have that feminism is going to damage people and make them make bad choices. You know, accidentally. Not because feminists are bad people. It’s just that if we do the things feminists say we should do, society might make that turn out bad. So I have concerns.”

Would this feel comfortable to you? Think about that when you read comments responding to you. It might help you understand where trans* people and people who love a trans* person are coming from when they are speaking.

Diptych
Diptych
8 months ago

When someone says they are non-binary, they are saying they have changing or flexible gender identity, if I remember correctly.

You remember incorrectly. What you just described is gender fluidity. “Non-binary” refers to anyone who, for any reason, doesn’t fit the standard male/female model.

Catalpa
Catalpa
8 months ago

Dang, Crip Dyke, that is an impressive and very well-put breakdown of the issues that have been cropping up with Sapphire’s posts! Fantastic job, thank you for the time and effort you took in writing all those posts! Reading those was educational for me as well.

Crip Dyke
8 months ago

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 didn’t know that, and will endeavor to change in the future.

I just want to single this out as a great response by you, Sapphire. When you’re trying to learn, and someone spends time helping you learn something, it’s always appropriate to say thank you, but it’s even more important to let people know that the lessons they’re trying to impart have been received and that you’re going to act differently in the future.

This is the kind of thing that tells others in the room that they can begin to let go of fears you may be seasoning and start to trust that you’re here in good faith.

It seems like the main people trying to enforce strict gender roles are conservatives very much opposed to trans* people…

As said above, I’m looking at it from a different angle. There is some evidence in some religious groups, it’s more acceptable to be trans and strait than cis and gay.

Yes, but you’re talking about it here, and you’re speaking about it in a way that doesn’t always make clear that you think we already have this stuff handled.

If you were to ask, “Hey, does anyone know how to handle the fucked up situation in Iran where you can be executed for being gay, but if a trans* person who is rich and know the right doctors you can actually get trans*-related medical care and change certain aspects of your ID? Because obviously going through sex transition when you’re not trans* is going to be hell, but for some people it’s going to feel worse than death and so the Iranian government is setting up an incredibly coercive and destructive environment.”

And I wouldn’t have any idea about Persian culture, but I can tell you that I do know a little about the problem, I know that gay men have been executed there, I know that medical transition is available for some, usually wealthy, people who have the right connections and don’t get arrested for being gay before they can get into a transition program, and I would remember that I got my knowledge about those cases through Amnesty International, so I could encourage you to contact AI, who I know employs actual Iranians.

Do you see how that question is different from a generally expressed concern? When the concern is general, as yours was at first, there’s nothing in it to say, “I’m not concerned about you.” The very fact that you’re bringing it up here and not somewhere else creates a tendency for people reading you to think this is about us. And maybe it’s not, but you’re going to have to include something specific in your comments to overcome that bias.

So if your concern really is about Iran (or wherever), you don’t have to throw in 16 levels of apology (though here in Canada we’re used to it and it’s no big deal). Just say, “Hey, I have this concern that this bad thing is going to happen in Iran.” None of the commenters in other countries will think you’re implying that they are the problem, since you’re talking about Iran, and not their country. You don’t have to feel bad. Win win!

Crip Dyke
8 months ago

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?

That it could subconsciously force people to think they non binary because they exhibit non-conforming traits and so then can’t be a man or woman.

Again, you’re mirroring the concerns of the anti-feminists by saying, If we give you three choices instead of two, people might might the wrong choice!

Yes. When people have the freedom to choose, they sometimes make the wrong choice. But on the general level, the fact that people make bad choices isn’t an argument to limit choice – if it was, then no one would be able to own a car or a bicycle, everyone would ride the bus because people might buy the wrong car or drive to fast or ride their bicycle without a helmet.

I mean, if you let people think riding bicycles is cool, then some people will want to ride a bicycle even before they have the money to buy a helmet because they just feel like they can’t miss out on the cool kids’ experience. And if kids ride bicycles without a helmet, some of them are going to get hurt, a few even badly hurt or killed. Therefore … no bicycles?

Of course not.

But more importantly for this conversation when we move from the general (about choice at all) to the specific (choice in the specific context of having your self-description of your gender be tolerated by society even when it falls into neither the category “man” nor the category “woman”), the people who would tell a child that they have to be non-binary or have to transition in a binary manner are not the people who are here on this website. They aren’t the trans* advocates. And currently those same people are already either telling people that they have to transition binary-to-binary and/or that they have to stop violating stereotypes.

This means that respecting non-binary expression and identity doesn’t create any problems at all. The people who are assholes about gender already exist. They aren’t being created by non-binary people. Because of this, there is no concern about respecting the self-determination of NB folks. The problem you’re worried about already exists, it isn’t exacerbated by the thing you’re worried about, and the folks who are fighting that problem are the very people whose freedom “concerns” you.

Instead of being “concerned” about NB folks, it really seems to me that you should be thanking them. They’ve been addressing your concerns since before you knew you had them. Now might be a good time to tell them how awesome they are.

Steph
Steph
8 months ago

@Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation

You can judge Brexit by the company it keeps: troglodytes like Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson. If it’s strongly the preferred position of racists and cypro-fascists that alone justifies extreme skepticism of it.

In fairness that’s a fairly weak argument. There is a strong anti-EU streak on the traditional left within Britain (well specifically England) including Jeremy Corbyn, Bob Crow and Tony Benn (a brief Google search will reveal articles in left-leaning publications such as The Guardian and New Statesman detailing the reason for that. The very opposite of “racist and crypto-fascists”. And on the flip side we have seen when the British racists have taken a stance on things (such as the Iraq war) which many progressives shared (even if for different reasons.)

Steph
Steph
8 months ago

@Sapphire

I’m not trying to talk about what marginalized people deal with. I’m saying I disagree that race is generational.

I think what is meant by “generational” is that race/ethnicity is an inheritance. My ethnicity is driven by that of my parents and grandparents etc. I am not a woman because my mother was a woman. My gender operates independent of that of my parents.

I think the issue with Dolzeal is I find something very unedifying and, to be frank, inherently racist in stating you can “live as a black woman”. What does that mean? How is that justification made without resorting to racial stereotypes of what it means to be a black person?

Steph
Steph
8 months ago

As for Terry – he’s joining the ranks of trying to be an Edgelord in his later years.

His comments on the Black Panther movie were equally foolish.

Crip Dyke
8 months ago

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….

This is partially what I am referring to, though what little I’ve seen has not been about inclusive language, it’s that some want those issues taken off the agenda for women’s rights, since not every woman was AFAB.

Really? This actually concerns you? So here’s something I think will be helpful. Try to find a single trans* person saying that women shouldn’t have (or fight for) abortion rights. Don’t take it on faith that someone’s position is anti-abortion. Go to the exact quote and read it for yourself because in a great many cases trans* people’s words are twisted out of all recognition. Once you’ve got the original writing, use your own reading and thinking skills to make sure that this statement seems anti-abortion to you.

Now, if you can even find one, which might be possible since there are millions of us across the globe, see if you can find any trans* people reacting to that other trans* person’s statement. I bet you’ll find that the opinions expressed by other trans* people will be almost uniformly negative.

But fuck all that. That’s not even the point. For a second let’s completely forget that as a demographic, more trans* people favor abortion rights than cis* women, who actually oppose abortion rights more than they support them. That’s right, we’re going to completely forget that 51% of women in the US consider themselves more “pro-life” than “pro-choice” when forced to choose between the two. Let’s completely forget that the only age group that is more pro-choice than pro-life in the US is the 18-29 bracket. Let’s completely forget that poor people pick pro-life over pro-choice 59% to 34% and yet you probably still support the rights of poor women and probably aren’t going around to different websites saying that you’re “concerned” about advocating for the rights of the poor because poor people are opposed to abortion.

Trans* people? There are a lot of us. And in any large group, some of the people that fit in that group are going to be terrible, terrible people. Some are going to be racist as fuck. Some are going to be sexist as hell. Some are going to be ableist as shit.

It’s a thing. It’s about being real humans and not just stereotypes.

Of the many cis women who are anti-abortion and don’t want abortion to be part of the fight for women’s rights represented in the survey I linked above, there are some conservative Jewish women who want equal pay for equal work but think abortion should be illegal.

So… should we be conservative about how we advocate for Jewish rights and respond to anti-semitism because some Jewish women are anti-abortion (or just plain terrible)? Nobody takes that seriously.

So why should it be any different with trans* rights? If some trans* person somewhere advocates something you know is wrong (outlawing abortion, kicking puppies, setting off nuclear bombs, or voting for Susan Collins, y’know, that kind of thing), the appropriate thing to do is to tell them they’re wrong (and maybe call them an asshole if you feel like it) while still fighting just as hard for legal abortion, protecting puppies, nuclear disarmament, replacing Collins … AND trans* rights. Because it’s the right thing to do.

Rights should never be dependent on a group having no shitty people in it. Otherwise we would have no rights at all.

I encourage you to take some time to think about why any trans* person’s anti-abortion advocacy should even come up in any conversation about whether and how trans* rights should be respected. Even if trans* folk were 99% against the right to abortion – which we sure as fuck are not – that simply has nothing to do with whether or not trans* rights should be respected.

They aren’t rights if you have to prove you have the right political thoughts before you can have them.

Sapphire
Sapphire
8 months ago

Part of what many trans* activists and feminists are trying to do is reduce forced definitions of what it means to be a man or a woman. That is, you don’t need to have had one specific set of experiences to be a man or woman or any other gender.

I know that is the intention, which is why I have concerns that an *unintentional* consequence could happen. I’ve explained why I feel sometimes have felt othered because I do not fit in the stereotypes, with the sort of attitude that if I don’t wish to respond as a stereotypical woman, then I should call myself something other than a woman.

You’re not some poor misunderstood soul who just can’t communicate clearly. Let me assure you that you’re communicating very clearly. You’re getting pushback because you’re wrong. You’ve been wrong repeatedly in this thread, as many have already demonstrated.

I disagree. Some of the issues are matter of opinion that harm none so do not involve being right or wrong per se. I was wrong to use ciswoman and transwoman and have been consciously not using that term anymore.

What I’m saying is that the things (like murder victims) you are assuming I give a shit at all about the work of police and coroners. I don’t. I only care there is a delay getting justice for victims or for families to know what happened to their loved one. It’s not about the amount of work someone has to do, it’s that families have to wait longer because of the work. But if you assume I don’t care about the victims, as you have, then you could view that comment to think I am caring about the police or coroners. If you assume I care very much about the victims of violence, you would see that comments about the difficulties of identification are about the harm it causes the victims and potentially protects perpetrators.

If I said “I think assisted suicide should be legal” and you think I believe in eugenics, you might assume that I think those who are ill or a “burden” should kill themselves. That is assuming the worst possible intention. Assuming the best intention would be to think (correctly) that I think people have a right to self-determination and should not be forced to undergo unimaginable pain if they don’t want to.

Before you launch another sixteen paragraph comment full of gaslighting, bad-faith accusations, and transparent emotional manipulation, please be aware that we know what you’re doing.

I am not trying to gaslight, emotionally manipulate or anything. I am trying to be as clear as possible, stated up front that I am discussing in good faith and asking that the same come from others. If this is another group that is unable to do that, that’s the way it is. This is what I mean when I previously mentioned the difficulty in discussing this topic with people because of accusations.

If you assume I want to harm trans people, then anything I say will be colored by that. If you assume I want everyone to live happy and full lives in a way that makes them feel good, it changes the tone. Tone is difficult to perceive on the internet, so explicitly stating tone is an attempt to compensate for that. That’s what the endless disclaimers and explanations are, an attempt to demonstrate the tone and place I am coming from.

I’m not assuming anything. I specifically asked you if that was what you meant, because that was the way your comments were coming across to me and I wanted clarification.

You asked, but you went off on it for a while first, with the assumption that I meant the worst way to see it.

Also, now you’re saying that we should treat people differently when they’re acting in good or bad faith? That wasn’t your position when it came to people who identity as black women in bad faith.

Technically, I was advocating for treating everyone as though they were behaving in good faith, no matter whether they were or not.

Or is your position that we should just be nice and civilized towards everyone regardless of their intentions?

Nice if possible, always civilized, if they are behaving in a civil way in return. Even with vehement disagreement, more exchange of ideas happen when you behave in a civilized fashion. I subscribe to the philosophy of attack institutions, be kind to people. (typically in the context of racism, but I think it works here too). I know that it is not a popular philosophy because many people think there are people who are not worthy of civility because of their beliefs that can be downright horrific. But if they are willing to have a civil discussion about it, I think there is benefit to it, because the exposure will help that person in the long one (the person with terrible beliefs).

There was a documentary recently made by an Islamic young woman who was following anti-muslim and white supremacists. She was incredibly brave in what she did and how she interacted with them, and at the end, nearly every man she profiled had left the movement. That is success and progress, IMO. It’s not fair that she should have to do that, but by doing it, she made the world a better place and had a positive impact on those people.

If you don’t wish to come across as one of these folks, I would recommend specifically saying why you’re bringing up a particular point, instead of just going “hey I’ve got this concern” (and, no, slapping disclaimers on everything isn’t good enough. See: J.K. Rowling’s tweet about “identify however you want, wear what you like, but [transphobic bullshit]”. Folks acting in bad faith like disclaimers too!)

I don’t know how to express that always until someone brings up the negative point of view to me, because I can’t see that way of viewing the concern, it literally doesn’t occur to me, so I use the disclaimers as a way to try and explain that I am not coming from a position of trying to oppress them more or make their lives more difficult, I’m thinking of issues I can see that even if they can’t be solved now, or aren’t fully realized now, they could go that way, depending on how things happen in the future. But if people think about those pitfalls, then they can avoid them or correct them better. Telling someone there is a patch of black ice on a street isn’t telling them to not go to their location, it’s a telling them there’s a patch of black ice on the street and even if they weren’t able to see it, someone else has and to be aware of it. The person might even be able to say “Oh, I live nearby and I could put gravel on it to make it less dangerous”. (which I might never have thought of myself since I didn’t live near the patch of black ice)

Hopefully that makes sense as an analogy.

I mean, if your definition of race consists of only skin color and physical features and none of the associated cultural and historical baggage associated with it, then I’m not going to be able to convince you of my point. Do as you like.

It’s more that I see it as being similar to sex, that there is cultural and historical baggage for that as well, so I think it is less dissimilar than you.

is not a compelling argument and is frankly a bit tone deaf.

I definitely can see that. I was trying to make an analogy to explain why I viewed sex and race with similar baggage and that both can be altered by change in circumstance, which gives them *different* baggage. The only reason I switched it, is because there are additional difficulties and problems with the history of CPS and other agencies removing children of color and so it wouldn’t be able to be a “clean” example – and sometimes the issue that I was trying to isolate are able to be viewed when they aren’t surrounded by all the other problems.

I’m not sold on how people being able to more freely identify as a variety of genders would lead to that in any way, and nothing of what you’ve said so far has convinced me.

I’ve said I’ve felt it before, but it’s fair if you don’t believe me and so don’t think that it happens.

Given the high rate that trans women are murdered by cis men, I think a lot of trans women feel just as much, if not more fear of men than cis women do.

Which is why I was careful to specify that the fear is not the same, not that it doesn’t exist. There is a deep cultural/societal fear of rape in cis women. Of course trans women are also dealing with violence and rape, but it is a different fear (which doesn’t mean it’s not valid)

You’ve got some safety, here. It’s not the same as comfort (something I’ll address more later) but it is safety: you get to leave whenever you want and people won’t follow you.

I understand that, I did that purposefully to make it difficult. And emotional safety is different than physical safety or fear of being harassed. If I were to say something overtly negative about trans people, I would assume that many trans people would feel unsafe, even if I had no other contact with them or weren’t following them to other sites or trying to find where they live or work. (and that’s not incorrect)

If people just started with tearing into me, I wouldn’t have learned that the preferred nomenclature is trans women and cis women, not written as one word. Being attacked, even verbally, doesn’t make a person feel safe, and it also doesn’t typically put someone in a position where they are open to learning.

If it gets too much, you can walk away, temporarily or forever. None of us here will think worse of you because we don’t actually know you. Even if we think badly of some internet name, Sapphire, were we to ever randomly meet each other in real life, you’d still start out with a fresh chance to make a good impression.

But I doubt that I am the only person in the world that doesn’t want people thinking poorly of me, unless that is my intention, which it rarely is.

You’ve put various statements like these in your reply. I want to explain how they put me in a bind. I can’t know what’s in your brain. I’m not telepathic. I can only respond to words you write in your comments. If it becomes wrong to criticize your words, then we can’t really have a conversation at all.

So we have a differing point of view on that – I put all those extra words and disclaimers to try and show you what is in my brain. I’m trying to communicate an idea, and discuss the idea behind the words. The words can be mentioned, especially to let me know how it can be perceived in an unintentional way, because I can try and rephrase it. But when the words are focused on excessively and given more attention than the idea, it’s frustrating. Especially because some amount of hyperbole is common in regular conversation, where using more absolute words is more a figure of speech than a literal translation. “I always cry when I watch the end of that movie”. Now, I might not actually literally cry every single time I’ve seen the end, but more times than not, I do. That’s what I mean by hyperbole as a figure of speech.

I can act as if you’re a good person, but you being a good person has nothing to do with whether or not your words are good words, your sentences are good sentences, your arguments are good arguments, or your statements are accurate statements.

I don’t love this way of looking at it, because I do think being a good person matters, and words and sentences can have problems, but the ideas behind them are more important because if it is a inherent disagreement of the idea, it doesn’t matter the words, because someone who disagrees will not change words or attempt to rephrase, while someone who as an overarching point agrees, they are going to update the wording, phrasing or try to make it less offensive or point out that it wasn’t intended .While some people do feel intention is not important in insults and offensive material, I do think it is important. Intention can be good, bad, neutral and thoughtless. Once you bring something to the attention of the neutral and thoughtless, you can clarify their intention as good and bad. I have people call be by the wrong work title, because there isn’t a great, established way to say my work title in their language (that I also speak). So when they give me a “lesser” title, I know it isn’t their intention to diminish the work I do, and I sometimes will give the correct title at first. But eventually I will give up because it’s not that important and their intention is good so it’s not worth stressing them out about it.

This sentence is grammatically a bit weird.

Sorry, sometimes I use too many pronouns.

“No, but I am willing to bet that the reporter speaking with gilliam or any other member of the crew were using female pronouns, and saying someone is an asshole to self-identify means you will not allow people to self identify without judgement.”

You since clarified that you don’t care if people judge others for self-identification, only their actions on that judgment.

I can agree with that a little, that the actions are very important, but constant judgment can end up as harassment to those who are being judged. So judging is not without consequence either. Many trans people feel the constant judgement, even without direct harassment or discrimination, is still a negative part of their life, makes them feel harassed and unwelcome.

And yet the government has decided it will list a marker of so-called “legal sex”, and the type of marker you receive makes it legal or illegal to enter certain rooms.

I think we’re looking at those spaces differently – I don’t know if it is cultural or something else. The reason those rooms are segregated (when it was started) was more that women needed protection from men. Many cis women I know have snuck into a men’s bathroom when the lines were super long for women’s and there was not the same concern with a woman going into a men’s room as vice versa. Like there used to just be “bathrooms”, then women’s were created as a protection for women, and instead of calling bathrooms and women’s bathrooms, they switched the term to men’s room and women’s rooms, because women didn’t like that the “default” was assumed to be men.

But I understand what you are saying now from the purpose of legal sex marker. I think it disproportionately would affect men, because women are typically not viewed as a threat. They could be, but culturally, that’s where we are as a society.

Again, I wasn’t thinking about bathrooms because I think that argument is stupid, and I don’t think someone, trans or not, should be arrested for using a bathroom who is not doing anything else wrong. If you are a man who has crohn’s disease and suddenly need to use a bathroom and the women’s is nearest, please, use it in good health, because it’s stupid to cause him pain and distress to find another bathroom further away. Have a room with urinals and a room with stalls. Some cis women can use urinals and have no problem doing using them (or use one of the funnels). No need to segregate it. If you aren’t comfortable using a urinal, no matter gender or sex, stalls are available. It would be far more equitable. Some cis men aren’t comfortable with urinals and they have to wait much longer than women do because our bathrooms have more stalls than theirs. No one should be forced to use a urinal if they don’t want to.

And I mean that literally: please acknowledge that you’ve heard and agree that trans* advocacy movements as they currently exist in relation to transsexual, transgender, non-binary, agender and other gender atypical folks is dramatically different than any hypothetical movement advocating transracial rights to self-identification.

I have heard and agree that they are currently different. And I understand with the bathroom example why it would make a difference, which is not something I was thinking about, because I am not in favor of strictly policed gendered bathrooms or spaces for generic public usage (bathrooms/locker rooms). There should be spaces for more or less privacy.

My thoughts were not about the current legal and official advocacy movements, that are working to change societal laws, but the concept (if those laws didn’t exist).

Like if we just stopped putting gender on driver’s licenses, and that if there were places that were specifically intended to protect people born without a Y chromosome without a penis, we identify that by some other sort of marker. (thinking rape crisis etc. Not that trans women don’t get raped, but that it needs to be possible to treat victims with as much protection as possible) That would take the legal aspect away.

But there’s a vehemence against self identification of other traits, even if the legal aspects aren’t part of it, and that’s what seems contradictory. That if there was no legal significance to your gender for being in locations, then it would still be opposed.

There are people that can pass for other ethnicities, of all racial heritage, and there are people that in order to do so, they would need heavy makeup and still wouldn’t be mistaken for being that color. Like super light and super dark people will have difficulties passing as another color, because they are at the far extremes, while the difference in color and traits between light-skinned black people and olive-skinned white people could be more easily passed as something they were not.

That seems to have some comparison for passing in the gendered communities – it can be very challenging for some and they might always be recognized as different, while others can be perceived as they want more easily.

That sentence makes sense to me, but I also worry it is oddly worded. But I don’t know how to word it better, so I am going to let it go and maybe someone else can come up with better wording or ask a question that will help me communicate it better.

Yeah, who do you think identifies them, if not the coroners and the detectives – exactly the people that I said? If you’re worried about the difficulty identifying missing people, you’re worried about the work of coroners and detectives.

No, I don’t. I care about the family members who wanted their loved ones identified. If it is difficult to ID a body, they might not be identified or take longer, which results in the pain and continued torture of their family members because they don’t know what happened to their loved one. I care about the end result of the difficulty, the pain and suffering of the people who have been harmed and the families that love them, not the process to getting them closure. Making the process harder only causes more pain to the end result, the families. It is not about the people doing the work. The only reason I could ever care about whether they are successful or not is because of the impact it has on the end result, the families and justice for the victim.

Like, if a pilot had to do extra steps to be able to land safely, I don’t care about those steps, I care that the plane gets on the ground safely with all its passengers alive. If I realized that something on my plane was making it harder to do all those steps, I would mention it. Not because I want the pilot to have less work to do, but because it affects the valued end result: plane on ground, intact, passengers alive.

So I’m not assuming anything. I’m just reading the words you put on the internet and ignoring the words that you kept inside your head. I have to do that. Your words on the internet are all I have.

Moreover, don’t forget that I led off with,

You should know this comes across pretty badly.

And about the coming across badly – especially with the extensive paragraphs beyond it enumerating how I didn’t care about trans victims of violent crime, that doesn’t come across as a “hey, heads up, this is worded poorly”. It seems more like “Hey, you’re a terrible person who doesn’t care about victims of violent crime”. So by your definition, your words came across badly as well. I wouldn’t normally say it like that, my typical response is: It seemed to my reading, because you continue to persist in the assertion that I care at all about the workload of coroners or police officers, that you were judging me harshly and assigning views to me that I consider absolutely abhorrent, and not that you were sincerely trying to help me with my word choice.

You want us to read you generously. It’s easier to do that when you read us generously. I’m not attacking you, I’m saying your words sounded bad. Can you understand that? Can you please understand how a trans person who has been the victim of more than one anti-trans hate crime and has been threatened with death many, many times might feel negatively about a paragraph that speaks clinically of trans* murder victims, with no sympathy in sight, with the only words of concern about some identification process that is going to be performed by people who are still alive?

“It was phrased poorly, and I’m sure you weren’t trying to say that you care about the workload of coroners, but that’s how it could be interpreted.”

That presumes the best of intention, with poor phrasing. That is less likely to be perceived as an attack on their person, but just they botched the phrasing, and if there’s a better way to phrase it that you are already aware of, you can share it.

“The better way to phrase it could be that you worry that victims and their families might face longer uncertainty about loved ones if they are trans and that trans murder victims might have less justice available to them if they aren’t able to be identified.”

I feel like sometimes you are focusing on the wording of the idea, not the idea itself.

Lainy
Lainy
8 months ago

If I said “I think assisted suicide should be legal” and you think I believe in eugenics, you might assume that I think those who are ill or a “burden” should kill themselves. That is assuming the worst possible intention. Assuming the best intention would be to think (correctly) that I think people have a right to self-determination and should not be forced to undergo unimaginable pain if they don’t want to.

Bro what the fuck.

Brony, Social Justice Cenobite

What’s “civilized”?

Sapphire
Sapphire
8 months ago

You’re going to have to say a lot more about this, because I think you’re probably quite, quite wrong, but without more details I can’t know for sure whether your wrong or exactly where.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_and_gender_distinction Yes, I know, wikipedia, but the entry is fairly well-sourced.

And as a separate note, I notice that you did not admit that you use words to describe people using gendered pronouns without checking genitals and/or chromosomes. But I’m confident that you do this. So what do you use? You use social cues and stereotypes. This is a separation of gender from biology. It would be nice if you could admit that this is something that you do.

I didn’t see this question before or thought it was a rhetorical question. Yes, it is, because in our society, gender and biology historically have matched typically. Though in some way we sort of check genitals – We look for secondary sex characteristics, adam’s apple, breasts, facial hair, hips. If someone is wearing jeans and a flannel and has no breasts, facial hair and an adam’s apple, I’m going to think they are biologically male, which will cause me to use the appropriate pronoun.

I mean, most people if they see someone in something masculine, but they have a stereotypical female form, if they are just going by visual without anything else, they will assume the person is biologically a woman. Less so these days because we do separate those out and someone who is giving potentially contradictory visual signals could be someone who has a preference, so you might be more careful to check prior to using gendered pronouns.

I definitely never check chromosomes 🙂

You realize that something kind of like this has been happening all through human history, with different cultures, with different stereotypes, with different levels of strictness of enforcement, right?

Yes and I’m concerned about accidentally amplifying it while trying to get rid of it.

When you have concerns that providing people choice will result in some people making a bad choice, even if you don’t say the next part out loud (the part that says, “and therefore choice is a bad thing”) the social context in which you’re speaking leaves people with no reason to think you mean anything else.

Your rephrasing was mostly what I intended:

“I fear that in a nation of 300 million people, some folks are going to be fucked up and tell someone that they must not be the gender they are because of some violation of stereotype! …. BUT I know that is not an argument for less autonomy. I know that’s an argument for better supporting individual’s choices. I don’t need you to talk me into a different policy, I just need support around my fears. Tell me everything is going to work out okay, would you?”

the only addition would be that “some people might start feeling societal pressure in a different way that is no better than what happens now”

This way of rephrasing it was helpful. And yes, I want reassurance from people that it is going to be ok and other people care about people who can get hurt inadvertently when things change, no matter how necessary and important the change is. Because often when I hear people talk, if someone voices concerns, it’s an immediate cancel, not a “if you mean , then yes, and we will have to be vigilant to not fall into the same traps that society originally fell into”. That is more reassuring to me than “OMG, you are terrible and have terrible opinions, I will never speak to you again, because if you have any of those concerns, you must hate people who are trans and want them to die and have no rights”. The latter worries me because I know that is not what I want, and so if their reaction is questions bad and trans culture can do no wrong, I feel like that is a viewpoint that will lead us all into a bad place and will not achieve the freedom that everyone wants.

But, and here’s the important thing, if you’re just looking for support and you’re not trying to argue a point or change minds, why are you visiting a website where no one knows you?

You pretty much hit the nail on the head in that I don’t have feminist friends, at least not ones who want to talk politics. My best friend who I would normally talk about these things with, she passed away two years ago, and I haven’t found a person to fill that hole in my life. I’m relatively new to where I live and I don’t make close friends easily. The people I am acquainted with, I don’t have the trust or comfort to be able to talk to them about subjects that are potentially charged. I mean, I had a medical procedure that I had to postpone because I didn’t have a friend or family member to pick me up. (stupidest rule ever, btw)

And, honestly, I’m terrified. I’ve seen how people get treated in conversations, and I don’t view my internet self as being different from my non-internet self usually (when I’m using my normal sites/usernames), and having a bunch of people tell me I’m a terrible person or a hateful person or want to harm someone – that would destroy me emotionally and I’m scared of harming any social bonds I have because I’m not good at making them and to have people cut me out of their lives because I worded something poorly (and I have seen people do that) that is scary to me. Maybe they aren’t great people if they would do that to someone, but they are the people I have and I’m not willing to risk it. There are some who also just don’t want to talk about these things because they are scared of saying the wrong thing themselves.

I randomly saw this article linked on twitter, read the comments and the comments policy and thought it might be a place where I could actually have a conversation and be able to make better order in my head, which it has helped – I learned new phraseology, and I do agree with the legal difference between gender and race, so I definitely understand the reason why one is needing heavy advocacy, I still have internal contradictions about the lack of acceptance of the concept. (like say, after trans people have all their rights codified and protected, would there still be an objection?), but I can better understand if the attitude is “not now, more important things now” vs “never, no matter what, that’s dumb, you can’t pick that.” The former, totally get that viewpoint and totally circles the square on the difference. The latter I still don’t understand, but I don’t understand everything (yet! j/k, just a joke that I like to have unattainable life goals and one of them is to know everything. Another is to speak every language on earth).

Its anonymity to my real life provides the safety to allow me to ask questions because I’m not as scared of being further isolated because this page is outside of my sphere and I’m not already counting on these social ties.

And yet, I still don’t like people to think badly of me, even if they are anonymous strangers. My own internal contradiction.

That’s why I’ve tried to go overboard and beg for people to not assume I’m one of those people, because then I can’t actually have a decent conversation.

Crip Dyke
8 months ago

…with gender protected space, where the goal isn’t to exclude trans women, but to not traumatize cis women, … I can understand why that feels (and is) exclusionary, but I also understand as well that there is a physical vulnerability and cultural internalization of male violence that necessitate women to still be able to be protected.

…and much later, but a continuation of the same general line of thought:

I’m more referring to rape crisis, domestic violence etc. It is not that the trans women are a threat in reality, but it is a deep-seated cultural fear that many cis women internalize thanks to the patriarchy. I don’t think cis women *should* consider all men as threatening, but unfortunately, in many ways, some women have been conditioned to feel that way. It’s simply the current reality.

As it so happens, I was one of the first three out trans* persons to work in a shelter for homeless survivors of rape, sexual violence, and domestic violence (it’s honestly hard to say which of us was hired first, but I think it wasn’t me) and I was the VERY FIRST to work on this issue at a national level in the USA, traveling and educating different anti-violence programs on the issue of trans* inclusion. I was the VERY FIRST to do the same in Canada – which I did even before I moved here. There are a lot of small countries out there, so maybe someone else bounced back and forth over a different world border somewhere, but as pitiful as crossing from the US to Canada might seem, it probably makes me the very first or at least one of the very first to travel internationally to work on this issue. When I say I know a lot about this topic, I know a LOT about this topic. I was hired as a consultant by the US Department of Justice because of my expertise on this topic. When i had my mid-life career switch and went to law school, I was easily in the top 25 most knowledgeable people on the topic in the world, easily in the top 5 in the english speaking world, and even a decade later I’m probably still in the top 10 or at most 20 in the English speaking world. I know this shit.

So lucky you, you stumbled into contact with an expert!

And the first thing I have to point out is that … as sucky as it is, there is no right to comfort. There is a right to safety, but not comfort. If your anti-trans* prejudice makes you freak out around trans* people, that doesn’t constitute a reason to throw a trans* person out of shelter or deny that trans* person shelter in the first place.

Like places that are trying to help victims of racial violence might feel unsafe if white people are around, no matter what the intention, safety of those white people, or amount they could help potentially.

Yes, but feeling safe and being safe are two different things. And if someone of mixed race but pretty light skin or mixed race and raised by a white parent is the victim of racist violence and wants to access a shelter for people subject to racist violence, you’re doing a pretty shitty job of fighting racism if you tell them that they can’t be sheltered because someone else is prejudiced against them.

Now, if the mixed race person wanders the halls of the shelter talking shit about how much better they are then the other people in shelter because their skin is light or they were raised by a white parent, then you kick the mixed race person out because their behavior violates your anti-racist values and actually decreases safety … but not because their skin or the parent they haven’t even seen in the last 10 weeks makes people stereotype that mixed race person as unsafe.

Feeling safe. Actually safe. Two different things and being able to separate them is absolutely key to figuring out the answers to the questions you raise. If a trans* person in a shelter starts a fight or calls names or is otherwise emotionally abusive, they should be kicked out of that shelter even if it is a shelter specifically for trans* people with no cis folks allowed. Because it’s about actual safety. Not stereotypes of safety.

that traumatized person needs to be able to have a space to go where they can feel protected.

No. That person needs to be able to have a space where they are actually protected. Feeling protected doesn’t do shit if you’re not actually protected. And if you’re actually protected but you don’t feel safe, that’s not the fault of the people around you. That’s something going on in your head caused by the violence and oppression that have victimized you. Being actually protected gives you space to deal with that, but if you make other people responsible for whether or not you feel safe or feel protected, that ends up being abusive. You can’t make someone else, anyone else, responsible for your feelings and shelter professionals aren’t doing anyone any good if they tell a resident that making any other person responsible for your feelings is okay.

I know that is a hard thing to accept for trans women, because even though they are women, they may carry the societal baggage that comes with having a penis and that’s not fair.

It’s a hard thing for trans* women to accept if you say your shelter is for women and you don’t let in women because you’re lying about your shelter.

It’s a hard thing for cis* women to accept, but if you’re honest about your shelter and what you’re doing, you’ll get a better reception from trans* people. Seriously. If you set up a shelter and name it The Sapphire Shelter for Cis Women Only Forever, you’ll get protests, but you’ll get a lot fewer protests than if you name your shelter Everywoman Safehouse and then deny trans* women access. Both are discriminatory. One is discriminatory and also dishonest.

The problem comes because there are a lot of cis women who genuinely are cissexist. They generally don’t like trans* women as a group and want to exclude them from their spaces. At the same time, they don’t want to admit that they’re being discriminatory and if they named their organization The Shelter for Cis Women Only Forever, then they would have to be uncomfortably honest with themselves. So they name themselves something else. They say that they are “for women” and then they turn away trans* women. The result is that they send the message to trans* women that they are not women – what other message can you take away from the interaction when the “Everywoman” shelter says that their shelter isn’t for you?

I have worked with shelters that weren’t ready to admit trans* women but wanted to admit FtM trans folks as long as they hadn’t had surgery. And then they changed their mind about that, because they hadn’t really thought that trans* men were men. They didn’t really believe it. And then they started interacting with trans* men and all of their unresolved fears and issues cropped up.

I have worked with shelters that were just beginning to admit trans* people and wanted to do better about welcoming trans* women, but didn’t want to serve trans* men.

I have worked with shelters that served people of all genders and sexes except cis men, recognizing that all people who are not cis men are targeted by gender violence and have a stake in ending gender oppression.

In every case what made a shelter’s policy succeed or fail was whether or not the organization and its staff were truly behind it. Fully trans* inclusive shelters worked just fine as long as staff modeled good, inclusive behavior and acted like the trans* residents had the same right to be there as anyone else. FtM, MtF, it was all about whether the staff cared about the issues, educated themselves, and set the right tone. This included kicking out trans* residents exactly as fast – no faster, no slower – than non-trans* residents for any behavior which threatened actual safety.

Because of this, my job was never advocating for what a particular organization’s policy should be. My job was asking questions and listening, trying to learn the organization’s fears and concerns and hopes and talents better than they knew those things themselves so that I could help them find their own policy, one they could believe in and support. Usually that ended up being a more inclusive policy than they thought they wanted at first. Sometimes it was even a more inclusive policy than I thought they would settle on in the end. But it was never that way because I pushed. This is about what an organization can do. What it believes in. What it’s willing to fight for.

If you’re not willing to fight for trans* inclusion and trans* rights, people will criticize you, but it would be worse if you tried to adopt a policy you don’t believe in, that you don’t take seriously, that you don’t want to succeed.

But if you’re not willing to fight for trans* inclusion, don’t blame it on your residents or program participants, because they take their lead from you.

I think this is a situation of two protected classes whose rights can come in conflict and that makes it an incredibly difficult issue to solve, moreso than it seems on the surface.

Because I have done this work for literally decades, it’s hard for me to remember back to what I thought “the surface” was. But I think you’re probably not someone who has ever worked in a shelter if you think this is difficult.

The problem seems difficult to you because the first instinct that cis people have when thinking about trans* folks is to assume that nothing we’ve ever done before applies, that we have to approach this situation like new born babes, because trans* people are just too weird, too different to have any reasonable parallels in real life.

But actually the parallels are there, and they are easy to find.

AMAB tans* women are a subset of women who face manifestations of oppression that uniquely target them (us) and who are also stereotyped as more threatening to other people than AFAB cis women.

Black women are a subset of women who face manifestations of oppression that uniquely target them and who are also stereotyped as more threatening to other people than white women.

So, ask yourself: if there’s a white supremacist in the shelter who has bought into horrible racist stereotypes about black women being violent and crack-addicted and is legitimately terrified of black women, is that a reason to exclude black women from the shelter?

Of course not.

But racism is everywhere, and inevitably a ton of white women are going to internalize and express a lot of toxic white privilege. Does that mean that if we decide to accept Black women in our shelter that we can no longer house white women?

Of course not.

You let in everyone. For good reasons of actual safety, you ban violence, crack, and racism. When people break your policies, you take corrective action, sometimes even kicking someone out. If a black woman gets kicked out for actually smoking crack – not just because we fear she might smoke crack because of the color of her skin – that’s not racist. That’s fair and appropriate. If a white woman gets kicked out for saying racist things out loud – not just because we assume she might say racist things because she’s white – that’s not unfairly making white women walk on eggshells, that’s fair and appropriate.

And guess what? Shelters have been doing just exactly that for decades. Racism happens in shelters. Violence happens in shelters. But the shelters continue. Is the work always easy and pleasant? Of course not, but the policies are actually quite simple and consistent.

Likewise, when considering whether trans* people should be allowed in a shelter, even though I don’t recommend that a staff that isn’t ready for them doesn’t implement a policy that they won’t and don’t want to uphold, it’s cissexist to exclude trans* people merely because they are trans. It’s also fucked up to assume that this constitutes some horrible barrier to cis clients. White clients have had to hold in their racist shit, able-bodied clients have had to hold in their ableism, and Christian clients have had to hold in their religious bigotry for decades now.

If a cis person – let’s say woman and assume this is a women-specific, gender-segregated shelter – is horribly anti-trans and assumes all trans* people are only trying to get access to shelter to rape cis women when they are at their most vulnerable, is that a reason to deny a trans* applicant?

Of course not.

If a trans* woman is afraid of cis women policing her gender and getting violent, does that mean we can’t let cis women into the shelter anymore?

Of course not.

You let in everyone, and you ban sexual aggression and cissexism. When people break your policies, you take corrective action, sometimes even kicking someone out. That’s fair and appropriate.

And really, it’s not that complicated. If you’re competent to work in a women’s shelter already, you’ll already understand how to apply such rules when oppression or violence comes between women staying with you.

Is that “an incredibly difficult issue to solve, moreso than it seems on the surface”? Yes and no. It’s neither harder nor easier than solving the issue of racism or heterosexism in shelters. If you think those are incredibly difficult, then sure. Call this one incredibly difficult. But it’s no different from the work we’ve been doing in shelters since before a lot of the people commenting on this website were even born.

Crip Dyke
8 months ago

You pretty much hit the nail on the head in that I don’t have feminist friends, at least not ones who want to talk politics. My best friend who I would normally talk about these things with, she passed away two years ago, and I haven’t found a person to fill that hole in my life. I’m relatively new to where I live and I don’t make close friends easily. The people I am acquainted with, I don’t have the trust or comfort to be able to talk to them about subjects that are potentially charged. I mean, I had a medical procedure that I had to postpone because I didn’t have a friend or family member to pick me up. (stupidest rule ever, btw)

I’m so sorry you’re in this situation. I hope very much that things get better. Who knows, you may end up liking some people here, but even if you don’t we’ll all still hope you find your right people.

having a bunch of people tell me I’m a terrible person or a hateful person or want to harm someone – that would destroy me emotionally

I hear that. Because I have done anti-violence work for decades, I have felt first hand and witnessed hundreds of times how hard these things can be to talk about. I hope that as I continue to address things you’ve written you can continue to hold in mind that I said I’m critiquing your words, not your person. Even if you come across wrong, that doesn’t mean that YOU are wrong.

That’s why I’ve tried to go overboard and beg for people to not assume I’m one of those people, because then I can’t actually have a decent conversation.

If begging helps your anxiety, you do it for you. But we don’t need it from you.

Of course we’re going to be nervous about a newcomer expressing some of the things you did using language that hasn’t had the benefit of education, but more and more I believe you’re exactly what you seemed to be at first: someone nervous as fuck who wants to do the right thing and not only doesn’t know how, but doesn’t even always know what the right thing is yet.

That’s normal. It gets better. And if you’re who I think you are, then you’ll win over folks here in time – and not too long of a time.

Crip Dyke
8 months ago

BTW and just FYI: my long-ass series of posts is done now.

Catalpa
Catalpa
8 months ago

You asked, but you went off on it for a while first, with the assumption that I meant the worst way to see it.

It takes a while for replies to happen here. It generally makes the conversation go more quickly if I immediately provide my responses to the statements that I am perceiving you to make.

Nice if possible, always civilized, if they are behaving in a civil way in return. Even with vehement disagreement, more exchange of ideas happen when you behave in a civilized fashion.

I’m not sure what you’re doing on this blog, then. Did you read the tagline? The New Misogyny, Tracked and Mocked. We aren’t about making nice with people with shitty beliefs here. We mock them.

I don’t know how to express that always until someone brings up the negative point of view to me, because I can’t see that way of viewing the concern

Fair enough, I also have troubles with people making unintended interpretations of my words and actions. But other people can’t read your mind. We can only read the words that you provide to us and make judgements based on those (and, if we knew you, we could make calls based on prior behavior, but none of us know you). And like I said before, the people who act in bad faith also like plastering their shit with disclaimers. So we make judgments based on the information available to us.

A better way to deal with backlash would be to go “yikes, that’s not what I meant to say at all. What bits that I said are the things that made you think I was being transphobic, I would like to avoid those in the future”

As opposed to having an exchange that goes something like (from my point of view):
“Oh great it’s another person who’s trying to argue that the deaths and suffering of trans people are like super inconvenient for cis people”
“How DARE you imply that I am transphobic! I’ve said that trans people should have rights! I’m super hurt and I feel unsafe here! This is so terrible for me! I just wanted to have a nice dispassionate discussion about the issues caused by trans visibility but I guess you’re just like all the other SJWs who get so huffy about this kind of thing.”

Focusing on your own discomfort when it comes to a discussion about the real and often grim reality of other people’s rights isn’t a great look?

Telling someone there is a patch of black ice on a street isn’t telling them to not go to their location, it’s a telling them there’s a patch of black ice on the street and even if they weren’t able to see it, someone else has and to be aware of it.

This analogy makes sense, I can see where you’re coming from. But if I can, I’d like to expand on it:
The reason why there’s a lot of black ice on the street is because a person’s house caught on fire and the fire department put it out with water, some of which flowed onto the street and froze.

And then someone comes along and goes “wow look at all that black ice! That sure is dangerous and inconvenient! It sure would be better if there weren’t all this black ice around!”

And other people go: “what, so you don’t like the fire department? Or you’d rather that the house would have entirely burned down?”

“Oh no I’m not saying that! But still. This ice is a real problem. It’s even affecting people who didn’t live in the house that caught fire. I just don’t think that’s very fair, do you?”

Can you see why that approach might garner some hostility?

It’s more that I see it as being similar to sex, that there is cultural and historical baggage for that as well, so I think it is less dissimilar than you.

Sure, there are definite similarities, but as Steph helpfully pointed out (thanks for helping me articulate my thoughts, @Steph!), the way that race and gender are “transmitted” is significantly different. People are a certain race because their biological parents were that race, but gender is not directly passed down from parents in the same way.

The only reason I switched it, is because there are additional difficulties and problems with the history of CPS and other agencies removing children of color and so it wouldn’t be able to be a “clean” example – and sometimes the issue that I was trying to isolate are able to be viewed when they aren’t surrounded by all the other problems.

So your way of trying to illustrate how sex and race are similar is by removing the background of racism from your example? I don’t follow.

Sapphire
Sapphire
8 months ago

Again, it could just be that you’re feeling nervous and confused and have to have some place to talk about this stuff and happened to show up here. But maybe you’ve heard the statement that it’s not the job of women to end sexism, it’s the job of men?

It’s not the job of trans* people to end cissexism. It’s the job of cis people to do that.

Yes to the first sentence. That’s it to a T!

So, I find it is interesting for you to bring up that thought from feminism, because I actually disagree with it. If the men were going to do it on their own, they would have done it far before they did. If men were going to do it on their own, we wouldn’t have people like weinstein or trump or epstein.

I think it is an uncomfortable truth that it is unfortunately our job. It shouldn’t be our job, but if we want to see the change happen, we are the ones who have to do it. I can’t say that for any other group that I don’t belong to, but I feel any group that I am part of, that despite the fact it shouldn’t be our burden, it still is and we can do it. I think that is the most effective and fastest way to get it done.

Imagine, just for a second, that a man walks into a feminist space where you’re participating and says, “I have concerns about where all this feminism is going. I’m TOTALLY pro-woman, but I just want you to talk to me about these real concerns that I have that feminism is going to damage people and make them make bad choices. You know, accidentally. Not because feminists are bad people. It’s just that if we do the things feminists say we should do, society might make that turn out bad. So I have concerns.”

Would this feel comfortable to you? Think about that when you read comments responding to you. It might help you understand where trans* people and people who love a trans* person are coming from when they are speaking.

And that’s where some of my weirdness comes into play. I would absolutely love that. I would love to talk about their concerns and things they see from a different POV. If they are agreeing with the basic assumption, discussing their concerns can make them an even stronger ally. And if they were lying about the agreement, then yes, it will be wasted breath, but I try to assume they are like me and if they came up like that, I would be over there in a heartbeat to hear it. I know many women wouldn’t, and would hate that I wanted to give him that voice, but discussing concerns (even if they do end up being in bad faith) just sharpens my abilities to deal with bad faith people in the future when I know they are bad faith, and to help me identify bad faith actors potentially more rapidly, but they might really bring up ideas that never occurred to me because I am limited to my own life experiences.

You remember incorrectly. What you just described is gender fluidity. “Non-binary” refers to anyone who, for any reason, doesn’t fit the standard male/female model.

Ok, squares are all rectangles but not all rectangles are squares. Thanks for the clarification.

If you were to ask, “Hey, does anyone know how to handle the fucked up situation in Iran where you can be executed for being gay, but if a trans* person who is rich and know the right doctors you can actually get trans*-related medical care and change certain aspects of your ID? Because obviously going through sex transition when you’re not trans* is going to be hell, but for some people it’s going to feel worse than death and so the Iranian government is setting up an incredibly coercive and destructive environment.”

Yes, essentially this but in rural and southern america with evangelicism, essentially. Even if just hormones can have negative effects. I had to go on a Gonadotropin releasing hormone for 6 months when I was in my twenties for a medical condition and I have some permanent negative side effects from that, and it can do permanent damage to your bones. estrogen increases blood clots and can stimulate breast cancer (which even cis men get, I have a HS friend who was a cis man who had breast cancer!) And they can increase depression and have their own side effects. I don’t want to say someone shouldn’t have them, or they are too dangerous to use in general, but for someone who feels they would be more accepted as trans than gay, consciously or subconsciously, it’s a risk that could be prevented. I don’t want extra people to unconsciously or inadvertently feel they need to assume that risk when they might be able to live happily and comfortable without that risk.

Do you see how that question is different from a generally expressed concern? When the concern is general, as yours was at first, there’s nothing in it to say, “I’m not concerned about you.” The very fact that you’re bringing it up here and not somewhere else creates a tendency for people reading you to think this is about us. And maybe it’s not, but you’re going to have to include something specific in your comments to overcome that bias.

I am not concerned about you. I am not concerned about who uses which bathrooms. I am not concerned about people who are trans being protected by laws. (they need to be)

When discussing difficult topics, I tend to find it easier to start from a more clinical type analysis, because then the issues feel like they are less about me as a person, and more about the idea and agreement or disagreement within. As I trust more, I am more willing to get more casual, because I trust that someone is not trying to trap me in a poorly worded phrase to declare me a bad, canceled person.

So if your concern really is about Iran (or wherever), you don’t have to throw in 16 levels of apology (though here in Canada we’re used to it and it’s no big deal).

I am a quarter canadian 😉 And it wasn’t about iran, more about evangelicals. But those layers of apology are attempting to provide that reassurance that you requested about that it wasn’t about you (or anyone here) It just seemed to be a semi-friendly corner of the internet.

But more importantly for this conversation when we move from the general (about choice at all) to the specific (choice in the specific context of having your self-description of your gender be tolerated by society even when it falls into neither the category “man” nor the category “woman”), the people who would tell a child that they have to be non-binary or have to transition in a binary manner are not the people who are here on this website. They aren’t the trans* advocates. And currently those same people are already either telling people that they have to transition binary-to-binary and/or that they have to stop violating stereotypes.

I don’t think anyone is telling people overtly or directly. I think it’s more a risk with well-meaning parents or advocates to not directly say that, but rather for others to feel it without any intention by anyone in the group, like I have sometimes felt.

Instead of being “concerned” about NB folks, it really seems to me that you should be thanking them. They’ve been addressing your concerns since before you knew you had them. Now might be a good time to tell them how awesome they are

Except they are providing the example that people who are behaving outside the stereotypes don’t belong to the groups. I prefer the stretching what it means to be a woman rather than creating a different classification. Now, that is definitely my opinion and I’m in the minority and I won’t enforce that opinion on anyone, it’s just I wish we weren’t getting to a positive endpoint in a way that made me feel less like I belong. I don’t want to be NB. I want to be a woman and accepted as a woman and not looked at as a NB woman. I think that’s just a way to other people with masculine traits and to make us feel less like women.

I think the issue with Dolzeal is I find something very unedifying and, to be frank, inherently racist in stating you can “live as a black woman”. What does that mean? How is that justification made without resorting to racial stereotypes of what it means to be a black person?

This is the argument that I’m used to seeing, and why I feel there is such a contradiction – how does someone know what it is like to be a woman unless they are using gender stereotypes, because to talk about gender with it, you are inherently using gender stereotypes. And even if someone uses those stereotypes as a first step, if they are truly living as a person of whatever designation, they will determine what it means for them. Just like you can’t presume what being a black person means to each individual. It all means something different, just like being a woman or man is different to every person.

Try to find a single trans* person saying that women shouldn’t have (or fight for) abortion rights.

To be more specific, it’s not about abortion rights, but maternity rights and uterus care in general. I know those people aren’t *here*, but I want reassurance that other people recognize that it could be a problem on a larger scale, because it can be a problem on a small scale too.

Trans* people? There are a lot of us. And in any large group, some of the people that fit in that group are going to be terrible, terrible people. Some are going to be racist as fuck. Some are going to be sexist as hell. Some are going to be ableist as shit.

I agree, and my concern has been that in my experience, I do not typically see people recognizing that, and putting people (not just trans people, but people of other minority groups, including women) on a pedestal that can make it easier for those people who are bad, just like in every group, because of of that pedestal. I see it happen in feminism, with women talking all sorts of bullshit and claims that if women were in power the world would be perfect. Except I don’t believe that is true, because women can be bad people just like men can. And anyone who has power is prone to abusing that power. Men just happened to have had power for a long time, so the problems are so much more visible. But women are far from perfect creatures and we need to have our ideas questioned, just like we question other peoples’ ideas. Like some men will complain about the draft excluding women, and there are some feminists who are ok with women being excluded from the draft, but I feel very strongly that it is unfair that women would not be included. (Of course, I’m against the draft in general, because I’m a pacifist, but the theory is still that if there is going to be a draft, it should be a health/age factor, not a genital factor)

And about the rest of the post, again, my intention was not clear enough. I have no concerns with trans women and abortion rights.

Crip Dyke
8 months ago

@Sapphire:

I’m going to say just a couple of things before I shut up for a good long while. i’ll let you digest. If you have anything more you want to say, know that I’m not ignoring it, I’m just going to do other things for a day or so because I’ve put up a lot of text. You deserve a chance to think things through about how to respond (and whether you want to respond) any more than you already have, and I deserve a chance to get some other things done 🙂

I do promise to read everything you post in this thread, even if I ultimately decide not to respond to it.

But here’s the last couple things:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_and_gender_distinction Yes, I know, wikipedia, but the entry is fairly well-sourced.

I am perfectly well aware of pretty much everything in this. I’ve taught gender studies university classes and used several of the authors quoted there in my syllabus.

But if you look through carefully, there’s nothing in there about the 1970s or about sex and gender separating more in the 1970s than they had been before.

So you say that there’s something that started happening in the 70s and even with that link I don’t understand what you think that is.

You are certainly under no obligation to explain yourself or do any more work than you already have, but just FYI I won’t be able to respond to what you think happened in the 1970s unless I somehow figure out what it actually was, which probably won’t happen if you don’t provide additional info.

Again, I’m content to leave the issue alone if that’s what you want, but if you want more from me, it will probably require a bit of effort on your behalf.

and then

We look for secondary sex characteristics, adam’s apple, breasts, facial hair, hips. If someone is wearing jeans and a flannel and has no breasts, facial hair and an adam’s apple, I’m going to think they are biologically male, which will cause me to use the appropriate pronoun.

No. It will cause you to use a gendered pronoun, but not necessarily the appropriate one.

What you’re talking about is using stereotypes to get things right as often as you can. And that works most times. But when it doesn’t work, we have an important choice to make: are we going to listen to what a person says about themselves? Or are we going to assume we know better because we’ve compared their appearance to our stereotypes?

This question is about who is the final authority on one’s own experience. Is the best knowledge and the final say available from internal experience or from external “experts” or from some other source?

While there are problems with any option you choose, the one that presents the fewest problems and that ultimately does the least damage to people is assuming that they know more about themselves than you know about them.

I have a strong bias towards self-determination not because it avoids all problems, but because every other choice is demonstrably worse. Do you really want someone else telling you whether that abortion you had was the right decision or whether you liked the movie you saw? How fucked up and crazy making would it be if someone told you that you enjoy silent movies when you don’t?

It would be even more fucked up if someone told you that you are Catholic when that is not how you think of yourself at all. As bad as it is to imagine someone else dictating your likes and dislikes to you, dictating who you are at a fundamental level is much, much worse.

So try to remember your stereotypes don’t lead you to the appropriate pronoun. They lead you to a good guess. You have to remember that you can be wrong. You have to remember that when you tell another person what and who they are, when they contradict you your choices will reveal quite a lot about who you are.

Think carefully, make only the choices that you can ethically justify to yourself, and always remember to have humility about the limits of your knowledge of other people.

Okay, I’ve written more than enough. Best wishes,

cd

Catalpa
Catalpa
8 months ago

Ah. I feel like I should clarify. When I said this bit:

I’m not sure what you’re doing on this blog, then.

I didn’t mean to imply that you are unwelcome on this blog. We’ve had regulars here with rockier introductions than yours.

I’m only saying that the environment here may not be the kind you’re looking for if you’re wanting everyone to convert bigots with kindness.

Sapphire
Sapphire
8 months ago

No. That person needs to be able to have a space where they are actually protected.

Can’t there be room for both? I am not freaked out by penises, but I also to not want to diminish the women who are. And that the fear of penis, regardless of who it belongs to, could cause some cis women (or even trans women who no longer have a penis) to not seek help to begin with. And when people worry about abuse in these places, I think many people think the fear is of the trans woman doing something wrong, when in actuality, it is a fear of a cis man manipulating the system for the purpose of harming women. We know predators are good at doing things like that. So feeling safe can be just as important as actually being safe, because if they don’t feel safe, they won’t seek help, even if they would be safe.

It’s a hard thing for cis* women to accept, but if you’re honest about your shelter and what you’re doing, you’ll get a better reception from trans* people. Seriously. If you set up a shelter and name it The Sapphire Shelter for Cis Women Only Forever, you’ll get protests, but you’ll get a lot fewer protests than if you name your shelter Everywoman Safehouse and then deny trans* women access. Both are discriminatory. One is discriminatory and also dishonest.

Calling it “cis women only forever” is the most prejudicial way to view it, but to have some space for cis women who have been victimized. Having a woman’s shelter is discriminatory by itself – against men. We accept some types of discrimination that are done for protection. I think it’s more that it is viewed as a bad type of discrimination and I feel minimizes the trauma that some cis women may have dealt with.

I want trans women to have shelters to go to and not just be safe, but feel safe. I want cis women to have shelters to go to and not just be safe but feel safe. That’s what I mean when two protected groups both have reasonable needs, but those needs are in conflict. I guess I wish there was a way for some of that protection to be possible for both, without anyone putting down the needs of the other group.

I have worked with shelters that served people of all genders and sexes except cis men, recognizing that all people who are not cis men are targeted by gender violence and have a stake in ending gender oppression.

Cis men can be affected by intimate partner violence as well.

In every case what made a shelter’s policy succeed or fail was whether or not the organization and its staff were truly behind it. Fully trans* inclusive shelters worked just fine as long as staff modeled good, inclusive behavior and acted like the trans* residents had the same right to be there as anyone else. FtM, MtF, it was all about whether the staff cared about the issues, educated themselves, and set the right tone. This included kicking out trans* residents exactly as fast – no faster, no slower – than non-trans* residents for any behavior which threatened actual safety.

This and your other discussion provides much more reassurance to me about the issue.

And in a way, that’s what I am trying to do for just all of these issues – be truly behind it by addressing whatever reservations/concerns/worries I have, because simply parroting the words isn’t intellectually honest if I have concerns that I don’t think are considered. Other people don’t view it that way, but I don’t know any other way to be.

But racism is everywhere, and inevitably a ton of white women are going to internalize and express a lot of toxic white privilege. Does that mean that if we decide to accept Black women in our shelter that we can no longer house white women?

Of course not.

No, but I also don’t think it would have been unreasonable for some shelters to cater exclusively to black women because of those issues and I wouldn’t attack them for wanting that level of safety.

Is that “an incredibly difficult issue to solve, moreso than it seems on the surface”? Yes and no. It’s neither harder nor easier than solving the issue of racism or heterosexism in shelters. If you think those are incredibly difficult, then sure. Call this one incredibly difficult. But it’s no different from the work we’ve been doing in shelters since before a lot of the people commenting on this website were even born.

I do think those issues are incredibly complicated too 🙂

Next post coming!

Sapphire
Sapphire
8 months ago

I’m so sorry you’re in this situation. I hope very much that things get better. Who knows, you may end up liking some people here, but even if you don’t we’ll all still hope you find your right people.

You and me both. I’ve thought I’ve found my people before, but things always seem to happen. I could look at it like I have terrible luck, or that I have amazing luck (because I’m still alive LOL) and I try to view it as at least decent luck. I am still alive, so things always have the potential to get better.

I hope that as I continue to address things you’ve written you can continue to hold in mind that I said I’m critiquing your words, not your person. Even if you come across wrong, that doesn’t mean that YOU are wrong.

I am not tearing up at all. But for someone like me, I feel I *am* my ideas. That doesn’t mean they are static, but I am not good at going along with the crowd just because someone else told me I should and that my questions don’t matter. In general life, I feel people like to have me around because I am a bottomless well of useful and useless knowledge (yes, I rock at trivia games) but also get frustrated because I question things a lot. Except that’s how I end up knowing all those things, because I question things and try and really understand them, which means it gets stuck in my head forever (along with the useless information. Did you know there is one county in Ireland that does not touch the ocean nor does it have a border with a county that touches the ocean? In other words there is a single county that counts as the most land-locked. Loais if you’re playing at home. Or that Catherine Zeta Jones had a tracheostomy when she was a toddler? Fun facts.)

If begging helps your anxiety, you do it for you. But we don’t need it from you.

Of course we’re going to be nervous about a newcomer expressing some of the things you did using language that hasn’t had the benefit of education, but more and more I believe you’re exactly what you seemed to be at first: someone nervous as fuck who wants to do the right thing and not only doesn’t know how, but doesn’t even always know what the right thing is yet.

The begging is me trying to explain that I am not trying to be one of “those people”.

I’m not sure what you’re doing on this blog, then. Did you read the tagline? The New Misogyny, Tracked and Mocked. We aren’t about making nice with people with shitty beliefs here. We mock them.

I am oddly ok with some mocking, but I do tend to advocate for the person being mocked, especially if it is going to a level where I wouldn’t be comfortable with participating in. I honestly hadn’t noted the title of the blog, just the topic of the post – I had found a link directly to the article and the comments seemed to be reasonable and educated and perhaps able to have this discussion without cancelling first.

Focusing on your own discomfort when it comes to a discussion about the real and often grim reality of other people’s rights isn’t a great look?

I’ll accept that it is a bad look, and true. I think more people do that than will admit it though, honestly. We always look out for our own safety. Even if we are seeking something new, we want to not worry that this will harm us seriously in the process. There are people who are very selfless, and some people can be more selfless on certain topics than others (it’s sometimes the benefit of having emotional distance from the issue) but the vast majority of people are not looking to be harmed, rejected and pounded on.

And then someone comes along and goes “wow look at all that black ice! That sure is dangerous and inconvenient! It sure would be better if there weren’t all this black ice around!”

And other people go: “what, so you don’t like the fire department? Or you’d rather that the house would have entirely burned down?”

“Oh no I’m not saying that! But still. This ice is a real problem. It’s even affecting people who didn’t live in the house that caught fire. I just don’t think that’s very fair, do you?”

And in my brain, I see that it is still a true statement and they weren’t saying that it should have burned down, but it is still a problem.

Like the other people are saying the black ice doesn’t matter, because to say it matters means you are saying the house should have burned down, while the original person is trying to figure out how to get rid of the black ice because they know it could cause a fatal accident and having a fatal accident on top of someone’s house burning down is even worse. You aren’t making things any better for anyone on the street by not fixing the black ice and then if there is an accident, the original person might feel culpability because they saw the danger and didn’t get it fixed, and also get really frustrated when then the other group (after the accident) says “OMG, no one could have seen this coming, we have to fix the black ice now that we know!”

Does that make sense? That’s why I love people questioning logically in most situations, and why I will contradict my own “side” when they are factually incorrect about things, even if it makes the argument weaker, because I would rather have truth be known than an easy lie. As an example, I work with premature babies. We know they feel pain. We can have babies survive who are only 22 weeks gestation, who clearly feel pain. So when an abortion rights supporters says fetuses prior to 24 weeks cannot feel pain, they don’t have the brain development, I know that is not true and will contradict them. I don’t think it changes the fact that a woman should have control over their own bodies, and I know that people who are getting abortions past 20 weeks are not doing it for funsies and usually desperately wanted that baby, but there are horrific complications that are causing the need for termination, but that doesn’t mean we should be less than truthful about things like them feeling pain. It’s uncomfortable to admit, but it is true.

People are a certain race because their biological parents were that race, but gender is not directly passed down from parents in the same way.

Well, in many ways it is. We tend to model the gender roles we grew up with as a primary role model. Our chromosomes come from our parents. And if you took a child at birth away from their parents and put them in a very different situation, it will affect their definitions, ideas and behaviors regarding that characteristic. Like if I grew up in a home where mothers don’t work, are expected to wait on the men, are submissive to men, my view on what it means to be woman, wife and mother are likely to be modeled on that and I am likely to share many of those traits.

So your way of trying to illustrate how sex and race are similar is by removing the background of racism from your example? I don’t follow.

Exactly, because I was trying to make it as a demonstration about race, not about racism. So racism confounds the situation if you want to simply talk about race.

Just like many of these topics could have much further information/complications if you throw in misogyny and sexism, but if you just wanted to simply talk about someone feeling they were a different gender, you might not want to get distracted in the conversation by those other issues.

I tend to prefer breaking concepts down to smaller parts, where it is the easiest to understand and agree with, and then add all the different complications that can happen and make sure that everything is still in agreement, logical and how it should be.

I can’t even conceive of how to build a strong opinion on something without that. I know some people don’t like it when it’s broken down into component parts, because they are worried it is being done for bad reasons. But someone can be wanting to break it all down and find all the flaws not to say “aha, that’s why you’re wrong and this doesn’t work” but rather to say “ok, so this one is a little wonky, let’s fix this so it works perfectly.” It’s done with the intention of making it stronger in my mind, not destroying it. The point is always to put the pieces back together in the end to get a nice finished project that is beyond reproach!

Sapphire
Sapphire
8 months ago

And thank you to everyone, that despite the suspicion and mistrust, it has not been a dogpile to destroy my sense of self 🙂 That is what I expect often and usually find. I’ve attempted similar before and either everyone is not interested in talking about it (which I respect, I can understand getting tired about it) or any toe dipping into it results in such a negative reaction I just have never gotten to talk about it. Or that people just honestly don’t know how to address those thoughts I have (also fair). This is, quite literally, the first time I’ve ever been able to really have a discussion about it with people who have firsthand knowledge. The people I’m acquainted with IRL or on facebook who are trans are either not at a place where they are comfortable talking about it (which I can absolutely respect, I have my own issues that I am not in a place where I can have an “intellectual” or dispassionate discussion) or they are not necessarily someone I would trust to have a serious discussion with anyway, I’m afraid of being ostracized by accidentally offending them, and/or that most of the people I interact with online and IRL would fall into the “woke” category and mob mentality is really easy to start and people are sometimes trying to “out woke” each other. And I see that environment/behavior/how they’ve treated other people who make a mistake in wording, and I definitely don’t trust them to have this sort of conversation.

And I also don’t trust places that know my regular identity to not take some misstep or miswording to crucify me and potentially take it IRL or otherwise threaten me.

It was a fairly impulsive decision to try to actually have the conversation here 🙂 I have no clue why I decided to give it a shot.

Sapphire
Sapphire
8 months ago

I do promise to read everything you post in this thread, even if I ultimately decide not to respond to it.

No worries, you absolutely are not beholden to my walls of text 🙂

I am perfectly well aware of pretty much everything in this. I’ve taught gender studies university classes and used several of the authors quoted there in my syllabus.

Specifically, the section on history and gender:

History

Gender in the sense of social and behavioral distinctions, according to archaeological evidence, arose “at least by some 30,000 years ago”.[30] More evidence was found as of “26,000 years ago”,[31] at least at the archeological site Dolní Věstonice I and others, in what is now the Czech Republic.[32] This is during the Upper Paleolithic time period.[33]

The historic meaning of gender, ultimately derived from Latin genus, was of “kind” or “variety”. By the 20th century, this meaning was obsolete, and the only formal use of gender was in grammar.[3] This changed in the early 1970s when the work of John Money, particularly the popular college textbook Man & Woman, Boy & Girl, was embraced by feminist theory. This meaning of gender is now prevalent in the social sciences, although in many other contexts, gender includes sex or replaces it.[4] Gender was first only used in languages to describe the feminine and masculine words, up until around the 1960s.[34]

So, it was around, then it wasn’t, then in modern American society, in the 70s, people started making the distinction academically and in normal conversation. So the concept of splitting gender from sex for the vast majority of people is a fairly recent phenomenon.

No. It will cause you to use a gendered pronoun, but not necessarily the appropriate one.

What you’re talking about is using stereotypes to get things right as often as you can. And that works most times. But when it doesn’t work, we have an important choice to make: are we going to listen to what a person says about themselves? Or are we going to assume we know better because we’ve compared their appearance to our stereotypes?

this is a response to my response to a question, and I just want to repeat some of that for context first.

And as a separate note, I notice that you did not admit that you use words to describe people using gendered pronouns without checking genitals and/or chromosomes. But I’m confident that you do this. So what do you use? You use social cues and stereotypes. This is a separation of gender from biology. It would be nice if you could admit that this is something that you do.

That was the original question I was responding to – that I tend to look more for secondary sexual characteristics than social cues and stereotypes.

And I did misspeak, when I said “appropriate” pronoun, I meant selected the one that seemed to work best for the secondary sex characteristics displayed.

So try to remember your stereotypes don’t lead you to the appropriate pronoun. They lead you to a good guess.

This is another part that I have no intellectual issue with it. I do my best to use whatever pronoun or name someone asks me to use. I don’t nickname without asking either. (I hate some of the nicknames for my real name) I do my best to remember and use the requested pronouns, with the understanding that I have a hard time remembering names and recognizing faces sometimes, so I am sure I’ve screwed up before, at which point if they let me know, I correct myself and try to not do it again, just like I would expect if someone uses a nickname on me that I pretty passionately despise because of reasons(tm) My former mother in law would often slip and use that hated name, but I always tried to remember that it was less about me and more about her age and the fact that one of her closest relatives went by my hated nickname and it’s hard to remove those things from one’s head, especially the older you get.

That’s what I’m trying to say that I have no arguments/concerns/contradictory thoughts with the generalities and big issues of trans people and their rights – there’s nothing to disagree with, I am 100% comfortable not only doing them myself but passionately arguing in their favor, and I feel I can make a good argument to anyone who would disagree. I feel very confident that they will not be able to come up with a situation that I cannot address (probably because I’ve thought about it before). Because of that level of comfort, it’s easier I think for me to be able to translate some of the other worries and concerns about those things because when I broke it down into little bits, I saw where their concerns came from and I can sometimes address the concern in a better way than maybe someone else.

For example, with bathrooms: “But we wouldn’t be safe in bathrooms if trans people were allowed to self-identify”. The concern they have (usually, especially if female) is not actually about the person who is “legitimately” trans. They are scared of men using that leniency as a way to harm women.

I can come back with the fact that women’s bathrooms have private stalls, so there is no change in privacy and what is “viewable”, even if one of those men manipulated their way to being allowed entrance, and bathrooms are easy enough to enter that not allowing trans women to go to the bathroom where they belong does not provide true protection to women, so therefore there is no loss of safety or increased risk to allowing people to use whichever bathroom feels appropriate. (and again, I think there should be rooms for urinals and rooms for stalls, that are gender and sex independent because it is more important the comfort in showing part of your body while eliminating to *anyone* (many women couldn’t pee if there were other women able to see them) and so gender doesn’t even have to enter into it)

Your explanation with the shelters was very thorough and I appreciate that, and I feel more comfortable saying that there shouldn’t be limitations in shelters and the reasons why they aren’t needed, though out of respect for cis women who have still the irrational fear, to help them come in from the cold. I would equally support shelters for trans women who are scared of judgment from cis women and want to be in a safer place than the general population that they don’t have to risk running into someone who might not be supportive. I can see benefits to both groups if someone wanted to make those types of specialty sub shelters, as long as normal shelters were available for all women. I wouldn’t want to see either side denigrated because they wanted to create a safer subspace. I personally don’t see why it would be needed, but I haven’t experienced the kind of things some others might have. My most serious sexual abuse came at the hands of a woman, abetted by men, so my views on men when it comes to that tend to view it from a different place, so I don’t feel the same level of threat from a penis as another person might. I just want to be careful to not discard women who might have more fear (that is really of cis men, but they are in too panicked a state to be able to recognize that a penis isn’t inherently harmful) I think it, in truth, is unlikely to come up much, unless there are shared shower facilities where everyone will have their clothes off. And knowing the other things makes it easier to argue gently against that fear point from women.

Naglfar
Naglfar
8 months ago

@Crip Dyke
Great response. I actually learned a lot from this thread.

@Sapphire

I am a bottomless well of useful and useless knowledge (yes, I rock at trivia games) but also get frustrated because I question things a lot.
[…]
Did you know there is one county in Ireland that does not touch the ocean nor does it have a border with a county that touches the ocean?

I know a lot of useless trivia as well and am really good at trivia too.🙂
I didn’t know about the doubly landlocked county of Ireland, but I do know that the the countries of Uzbekistan and Liechtenstein are similarly doubly landlocked. And the state of Nebraska is triply landlocked—none of the states it touches border on states that touch the ocean.

Sapphire
Sapphire
8 months ago

I know a lot of useless trivia as well and am really good at trivia too.🙂
I didn’t know about the doubly landlocked county of Ireland, but I do know that the the countries of Uzbekistan and Liechtenstein are similarly doubly landlocked. And the state of Nebraska is triply landlocked—none of the states it touches border on states that touch the ocean.

Someone after my own heart.

I remember when the dude won the grand prize on who wants to be a millionaire and a friend talking about it to me, because I didn’t watch it.

Friend: It had to have been fixed because the final question was so insane, like no one would know it. “How far is the sun from the earth?” (he said in a dubious fashion)

Me: (absently, because I’m doing something else) 93 million miles away.

Friend: How in the world could you know that?

Me: There’s a children’s song that was covered by my favorite alternative band and in the spoken word between the lyrics, there are various facts about the sun, including the distance from the earth. (mimicking the singer’s enthusiasm) 93 million miles away, and that’s why it looks so small! Also, if the sun were hollow, more than a million earths could fit inside it.

Friend: ……Ok. So. I guessed not fixed.

Naglfar
Naglfar
8 months ago

@Sapphire
I’m actually a bit surprised that would be the final question. I kind of thought that the distance from the Earth to the sun was common knowledge, but I guess not.

There’s a children’s song that was covered by my favorite alternative band and in the spoken word between the lyrics, there are various facts about the sun, including the distance from the earth.

Was the band They Might Be Giants?

Sapphire
Sapphire
8 months ago

Was the band They Might Be Giants?

They might be rain, the might be sleet, they might be frying up a stalk of wheat.

Uh. So Yes. 🙂 Been a fan since the 80s Dr. Demento’s top twenty demented video countdown on MTV 🙂

And I was surprised too, because I also saw it as an easy question.

https://millionaire.fandom.com/wiki/Dan_Blonsky

Catalpa
Catalpa
8 months ago

I’ll accept that it is a bad look, and true. I think more people do that than will admit it though, honestly.

You seem to think that words and thoughts are interchangeable? They are not.

Yeah, most people are going to be primarily focused on themselves, because we are able to most strongly feel and understand our own emotions. And being disagreed with tends to provoke defensiveness.

But there is a difference between thinking “My feelings are hurt!” and still carrying on the conversation with consideration of others who may be hurting more sharply, versus loudly proclaiming that your feelings are hurt and so everyone should stop what they are doing and attend to your hurt feelings.

You aren’t making things any better for anyone on the street by not fixing the black ice and then if there is an accident, the original person might feel culpability because they saw the danger and didn’t get it fixed, and also get really frustrated when then the other group (after the accident) says “OMG, no one could have seen this coming, we have to fix the black ice now that we know!”

But that’s the thing. The person isn’t taking about how the black ice should be fixed. The person is just repeating “well this sure is a problem!”

The person is coming into discussions about fighting fires and going “hey but what if that makes more black ice?”

The implication of this person’s statements isn’t that they want to work together with the fire department or the neighborhood to fix the black ice, it’s that they feel incredibly inconvenienced that the black ice exists in the first place, and everyone should stop everything to correct the inconvenience they are facing.

Well, in many ways it is. We tend to model the gender roles we grew up with as a primary role model. Our chromosomes come from our parents.

It is not. Race is “fixed”, gender is not.

If two white people have a child, what race will that child be? If they have another child, what race will that child be? A third one?

If two men (a cis and a trans man) have a child, what gender will that child be? What about the gender of the second child? The third one?

The answer to the first question is “white”, every time. But the two men will not have a male child every time.

(Admittedly, there’s an argument to be made that as the societal definition of race shifts, the parents who were previously considered to not be white might have children who are considered to be white during their adulthood, like what happened to Irish folks in America, but taken in frozen snapshots of time, the whole family would be considered to be one or the other, even if the answer changes over the years.)

Neither the chromosomal nor the role model argument for gender works the same way as the passing down of race. If a white person and a black person have a child, the child will be generally considered black as a result of the “one drop rule” that society employs. If a man and a woman have a kid, the child will not automatically be considered a female. And if a child is raised by a single mother, they will not automatically identify as female either.

Exactly, because I was trying to make it as a demonstration about race, not about racism.

Any discussion about race (at least race within our culture) is inextricable from a discussion involving racism, just as any discussion about sex is inextricable from a discussion involving sexism. It’s the background radiation of our society and it massively impacts the way that we are able to interact with the world.

Trying to have a discussion where we pretend that racism doesn’t exist for the sake of a hypothetical might be a neat thought experiment, but it has no bearing on our actual reality, where we live.

So feeling safe can be just as important as actually being safe

This is the same argument that people use to justify shutting trans people out of bathrooms, though.

Sure, there isn’t any actual change in the threat, but shouldn’t cis women who have negative reactions to penises be able to feel safe in the bathroom? Isn’t their comfort important? Can’t the trans women just make their own separate bathrooms or something?

Catalpa
Catalpa
8 months ago

To expound upon the black ice metaphor a bit, the problem isn’t pointing out the existence of black ice.

Going “yikes it’s really slippery here!” once isn’t a problem.

Maybe you go “yikes it’s really slippery here!” in a community where they’ve had other people talking nonstop about black ice and how the fire department was wrong for putting out the fire and how there should actually be more fire because that might melt all this troublesome black ice. Maybe they’ve had arsonists in the community before. And the people in the community react badly to your comment about black ice, because of that history.

After learning about the background that caused the negative reaction, the appropriate response is not “what the hell, I’m not anything like those arsonists, and you should have known that! I’m a good person! I’m just trying to help! All this arguing isn’t solving the problem of the black ice! You’re being irrational!”

The better response is “damn, I’m sorry that you’re dealing with that shit, I didn’t realize. I didn’t mean it like that, and I’ll try not to do things that the arsonists did. I was bringing up the black ice because I wanted to help fix it, not to attack the fire department or homeowners. I think that putting down sand might help. Maybe we can have barrels of sand around in case this happens again? Do you need any help installing the barrels?”

Even if the intentions of both of the responders up above are the same, the way they come across is significantly different. Does that make sense? Wording matters, because words and actions are the only parts of you that others can see. We cannot see your thoughts and cannot know your intentions.