“Woman” is a gender, not a marker of fecundity.

Leah Torres is an OB/GYN who tweets at @LeahNTorres. She was praised today on Twitter for being gender-neutral in her advocacy for trusting pregnant people with their rights to an abortion — a stance I share, back and categorically endorse.

Earlier, she wrote:

Our ex-colleague and recent embracer of all things TERFy Ophelia Benson sought this tweet out and attacked Torres for it, repeatedly chastising her for saying “pregnant person” instead of “woman”.

The rest of the exchange between them, up to and including Torres blocking Benson, pretty much has to be pieced together from this search. If someone could Storify it, that might make it more readable. I don’t have the stomach for it at the moment.

EDIT: M A Melby did a Storify of the exchange in its full context, making Ophelia’s antagonism much more plain.

Ophelia then characterised on her blog this aggressive move as basically casually mentioning that women are primarily affected by abortion on Twitter, as though she dispensed this wisdom into the aether undirected. I’m not linking it, because I don’t care to give her traffic for her bullshit, the more bullshitty it becomes. (This will no doubt not stop her from screenshotting some pullquote of me to call me a slimepitter or some nonsense again.)

The exchange is damning and angering, and blatantly transantagonistic. And I am betrayed that some of her commentariat, whom I once thought to be friends, were favoriting every transantagonistic stab and are offering weak-tea justifications for it all on her blog comments as though they are the ones who are thinking, and we who care about trans representation are just mindlessly repeating mantras.

Meanwhile, Ophelia justified her transantagonism thus:

She also repeated this “mantra” — err, sorry, argument — at her blog where her commentariat nodded sagely.

Since it’s obvious these once-noble and intersectionally-minded deep thinkers have forgotten how intersectionality works, have some Venn diagrams.

“All Lives Matter” is offensive because it dilutes the scope of the problem. Even if there ARE white folks who are brutalized by police, they are not brutalized BECAUSE they’re white, and their numbers are so incredibly much smaller than the black folks that are attacked by police that per capita, inclusion of white folks into “Black Lives Matter” reduces the scope and severity of the problem to an unacceptable degree. See this diagram:

All lives matter Venn diagram. Large box surrounding everything, labeled All lives matter. Circle representing whites. Circle representing blacks. Circle labeled Lives being threatened by racially motivated police brutality, entirely enclosed inside the black lives circle.

The demand to say “women” instead of “pregnant people” is offensive because it actually removes several sets of people from the scope of the question, and includes one major scope of people who shouldn’t be there. First, you lose anyone who isn’t a woman who has the functional reproductive organs to require reproductive services like access to abortion, including non-binary people and trans men. Second, you include women who cannot be pregnant, like trans women, women after menopause or a hysterectomy, or who are otherwise sterile.

Women and Non-Women (trans-men, nonbinary) in two square boxes. Large circle overlapping both boxes marked "Has uterus, is fecund (capable of being pregnant), requires access to abortion services. Described as "pregnant people" by Dr Torres."

Of course, these are illustrative only. They don’t have raw numbers to back them up, because they are not to-scale. And it’s possible a person or two in the white side of the All Lives Matter diagram might have been killed by police who really hate white people, but this is so vanishingly unlikely that I can’t see putting a dot in there for it.

Over at Ophelia’s there are lots of digs at us, at pro-trans activists, for not “thinking” about this subject. I have. I came to the conclusion that you’re wrong — that saying “pregnant people” does not erase women, and that the problem of abortion rights is not undercut by being more accurate about who’s impacted and not erasing the trans men and enbys who are doubly at risk of losing access to the services they need because they don’t present as women.

Trans folk experience a specialized subset of misogyny called transmisogyny — a pernicious sort of attack that damns men with “female” parts and women with “male” parts for the female / woman part of the equation. Recognizing this does not mean categorizing a specific problem as being a woman’s problem, nor that the word “woman” counts these people, because it doesn’t, and denying that fact helps solidify that secondary way they are at risk of not getting access to services. And because that causes undue splash damage, and redraws the districts unfairly so as to exclude some people who can get pregnant and requires reproductive services, I oppose it.

And as memory serves, this is how the whole transantagonistic thing started with CaitieCat last year during the Hobby Lobby decision. I steadfastly refuse to call abortion a woman-only issue, because I evidently have a better understanding of what the scope of the word actually entails than those TERFs who are, literally, excluding trans folk within the scope of their radical feminism.

It’s, by the way, because of this ongoing transantagonism that I’m perfectly willing to call those trans-antagonistic comments TERFy. Sorry, ex-friends and ex-colleagues, but the more you spout bigotry, the more likely I am to call you a bigot.

{advertisement}
“Woman” is a gender, not a marker of fecundity.
{advertisement}
The Orbit is (STILL!) a defendant in a SLAPP suit! Help defend freedom of speech, click here to find out more and donate!

194 thoughts on ““Woman” is a gender, not a marker of fecundity.

  1. 151

    There was a point early on in this (when she was testing the “TERF is just a term used to silence feminist women” waters) where Benson, either on Twitter or Facebook or a blog comment, lamented that she didn’t remember voting Oolon the leader of feminism, at least in part re: the block bot.

  2. 152

    Freja, I can’t speak for all transgender women but when I say, “I identify as a woman,” I do so because there is an internal orientation within me that connects with the physical embodiment of the female form in ways that simply do not happen with a male body. For me, living in male form was accompanied by a sense of physical and emotional deprivation. And while current medical options leave my shift in biology toward female form in a state of “partial completion”, the changes I have gone through have at least pushed most of that sense of deprivation away. This place of “partial completion” doesn’t change or lessen my own internal connection to womanhood. It’s still there, regardless of the limits of surgery and hormone replacement therapy.

    This orientation is not a matter of being “feminine” or acting “womanly”. If my connection with female biology/embodiment were not present within me, I’d be living my life as an androgynous/feminine guy. By mainstream standards, I’m not all that feminine as a woman. I don’t like makeup and I find dresses to be uncomfortable. I dress similarly to the way I did when I passed as a guy, only my clothes now come from the women’s department instead of the men’s. Jeans, shirts, and sturdy walking shoes are my preferred attire. I’m an outdoorsy person and I prefer outdoorsy clothing. As romantic attraction goes, I prefer women far more than men… although mostly, I prefer to be alone. Playing the submissive, helpless dependent in the name of femininity irritates the hell out of me and the thought of playing the role of eye candy for the male gaze feels gross.

    My central point is that my sense of being a woman is connected with female embodiment. This connection is not centered on playing the girly girl or somehow feeling “pink, frilly, and sexy”. I find the socially ascribed baggage that society lumps upon sexed biological categories to be a set of shackles which limit and bind. If being a woman was defined as feeling drawn toward the social trappings of stereotypical femininity and embracing those qualities, I’d feel strongly alienated from the identity of “woman”.

    As I understand it, you identify as a woman because you were born with a female body. I identify as a woman because of an orientation toward (i.e. internal sense of connection with) having a female body. While those two things derive from different chains of causality, they hold in common the quality of being based upon female embodiment. Consequently, if someone claimed that a person can not identify as a woman based upon female embodiment, and asserted that this identity can only be based upon criteria drawn from other sources (such as femininity, gender roles, clothing, aesthetics, or a sense of emotional connection/orientation with any of those kinds of qualities) that would exclude my own orientation and experience as a woman. As I understand it, that would also exclude your identity as well.

    I’m not a fan of the cultural trappings that have been lumped upon the varied biological substrate we refer to as sex. Call those social trappings “gender”, “gender roles”, “gender stereotypes”, or simply “sexist bullshit”: I’d like to see those social shackles dissolve into the ether. They impinge upon my sense of self as much as the next woman… and I’m also annoyed at how much this baggage impinges upon everyone else who isn’t a woman. I know I’m not alone in this sentiment as trans people go. Our lives are generally endangered by the social expectations surrounding this social edifice we refer to generically as “gender”. That social edifice draws lines right across the middle of far too many people’s lives, cis and trans alike.

    So, define your sense of being a woman how ever you like. I think that’s the key in challenging the restrictive trappings of gender in the first place: define yourself as seems natural to yourself. To blazes with the social judgement. We build prison walls within ourselves when we internalize that judgement. It’s poison.

  3. 153

    @ 150 timberwraith

    when I say, “I identify as a woman,” I do so because there is an internal orientation within me that connects with the physical embodiment of the female form in ways that simply do not happen with a male body.

    You remind of this post by Cristan Williams that advocates this use of the term “orientation” as an understanding of gender. Recommended to fellow cis people for a better understanding of what it means to be transgender.

    (h/t M. A. Melby)

  4. 154

    Yes! That was a really good article. If I recall correctly, I picked up the usage of the word “orientation” from that article. Previously, I’ve described my experience in much the same way I did above, using slightly different vernacular.

    As a woman who doesn’t fit the “pink girly” heterosexual stereotype, it has been imperative for me to figure out how my own sense of identity as a woman parses out along which dimensions of self-hood and expression. Understanding that my connection to female embodiment is a fulcrum upon which so much of my gender identity balances was key in being able to reject the damaging judgements placed upon women who experience the stereotypical gender expectations of mainstream culture as burdensome tethers. Internalizing this kind of judgement is detrimental and it serves as a means of controlling people so that they force fit themselves into conformist gender expectations via self-policing.

  5. 155

    @142, Giliell

    Has it occurred to you that some people have a strong gender identity and some people don’t?

    It hasn’t just occurred to me, it’s what I’ve been saying all along. Some women are gendered, some are not. By reducing “woman” to a gender, Jason is excluding what is probably a whole lot of women (though it’s hard to say, since these things aren’t being measured), telling them that the basis for their identity isn’t anything that can make you a woman, and they don’t fit the One True Definition.

  6. 156

    Thinking about this some more, I think we are repeatedly running aground upon confusion fostered by the myriad concepts associated with the word gender, a good bit of which have been addressed already. In summary, the word gender tends to be referenced in the following ways in discussions such as the one we have been having:

    1) A taxonomy used for categorizing biological characteristics related to reproduction.
    2) The expression of patterns of behavior and affect commonly associated with the categories formed by this taxonomy.
    3) An assortment of social forces—including socialization/acculturation, peer pressure, roles and mores governing behavior, and caste systems—which cultures tend to accrue around this taxonomy and which are used to foster and enforce the patterns of behavior and affect ascribed to this taxonomy.
    4) A personal preference or internal orientation toward assuming/expressing a particular state as defined by 1 and/or 2. This preference or orientation may or may not be derived from or governed by social forces delineated in 3.
    5) An overall sense of identity which rests upon various intersections and contributions of 1 through 4.

    There’s a ton of complexity which underlies the usage of the word gender and the concepts it can reference when doing so. Since the there terms woman and man are gender related terms, they are used in ways which reference these five semantic contexts in a number of possible permutations. Consequently, the possibility for confusion and conflict over the meaning of gender, woman, and man is extensive. Gender as a topic, and the roots of the phenomena referenced by gender, are inherently complex. That’s not terribly surprising given that human behavior and human psychology are so complex.

  7. 158

    @Tom

    There was a point early on in this (when she was testing the “TERF is just a term used to silence feminist women” waters) where Benson, either on Twitter or Facebook or a blog comment, lamented that she didn’t remember voting Oolon the leader of feminism, at least in part re: the block bot.

    Yes that was funny, not least because Marian, Xanthe and Vivian had been running it for a good year by then. I’ve had no power to add or remove anyone for over a year and a half now! Pretty sure assuming the man is in charge and erasing the non-male ppl running it is ever so slightly sexist 😉

  8. 159

    OB’s offense over using the phrase “pregnant people” instead of “pregnant women” seems eerily reminiscent of christians who get offended by those who say “happy holidays” instead of “merry christmas”.

  9. 161

    @freja, 143

    Anyways, I don’t see how that red herring actually has any merit in this conversation because a contradiction only necessarily means one of the ideas is wrong (though both could be wrong). It doesn’t tell us for sure which one of them is wrong. Maybe it’s the other one!

    I’m not sure where you’re going with this and all the previous accusations about what my opinion allegedly is, but let me clarify one thing: I’m not saying my definition is the only correct one, I’m saying Jason’s definition doesn’t cover all the ways one can be a woman.

    You misread what I was talking about here. I wasn’t talking about a contradiction between definitions.

    I was talking about how you tried to argue there was a contradiction between how race is handled and how gender is handled. I was saying that talking about race was a red herring.

  10. 162

    @Giliell, 139

    See Tom Foss. “I have not personally witnessed that, therefore it doesn’t exist” is a bullshit argument.

    Is that your good faith interpretation?

    I’m not sure you have any idea what freja was saying.

  11. 163

    The TERF community’s claim that “Transgender people are demanding midwives and doulas drop the words “pregnant women” in favor of “birthing individuals” has made it to snopes. When you decide to get your information about trans people from those who hate them, you’re going to get bad information. Same as getting your information about feminists from Richard Dawkins or the slymepit.

  12. 164

    Where do y’all get all this bullshit? None of you have this right.

    There are two incidents involving me and trans woman. In 2011 I backed out of a scene last minute when I found out my intended scene partner was trans. It’s not like this was about words. It’s about biology. I can see a picture of someone and think “sure” but up close and personal? It’s the smell and the energy of women that gets me going. I like pussy. Sorry not sorry. I backed out because trans women aren’t what I’m into. I felt bad about the situation and about hurting someone’s feelings, but not about drawing boundaries around what I do with my body. What I like to say is “you will not jerk off to the record of my regret.”

    The second thing with Chelsea? I never said anything about my gold star status being in jeopardy, or choosing not to fuck trans women because I’d lose it. It’s not the words, baby, it’s the concept behind them. Chelsea has a penis. She asked me what girl/girl companies would shoot her and I told her she would need a pussy for girl/girl. I don’t blow smoke up anyone’s ass. I don’t live in the world that should be. I live in the world that is, and ain’t nobody in LA gonna shoot her and call it lesbian porn. Chelsea got mad, and then got extra mad at me for saying I had no interest in trans partners.

    Here’s how the cotton ceiling is about me: http://lilycade.tumblr.com/post/110016517873/are-you-really-sure-that-the-cotton-ceiling-is

    Here’s me being a bigot according to Chelsea: http://lilycade.tumblr.com/post/88937315128/what-about-a-trans-girl-who-doesnt-use-her

    Here’s the start of the “twitter war”: https://storify.com/lily_cade/the-twitter-war-starts

    Here’s “why I went to war”: http://www.lilycade.com/why-i-went-to-war/

  13. 165

    It’s not like this was about words. It’s about biology. I can see a picture of someone and think “sure” but up close and personal? It’s the smell and the energy of women that gets me going.

    “It’s not my fault trans women are stinky!”

    Yes indeed. Well done on that one, Lily.

  14. 166

    Lily Cade @160,

    I never said anything about my gold star status being in jeopardy, or choosing not to fuck trans women because I’d lose it.

    If that’s true then what did you mean when you tweeted this:

    I am a gold star lesbian and I like it that way

    https://mobile.twitter.com/lily_cade/status/477904947288088576

    Or this:

    nah, I’m taking my gold star to my grave.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/lily_cade/status/419247148689928192

    I don’t live in the world that should be. I live in the world that is, and ain’t nobody in LA gonna shoot her and call it lesbian porn.

    So you are implying that the world “should be” such that at least someone in LA would be willing to shoot a trans woman and call it lesbian porn. Which makes sense because trans women are women (in case you didn’t realize that) and lesbian would be an accurate descriptor given the context.

    But you simultaneously seem to be proud of your stance in support of the status quo. You seem to be defiantly defending “the world that is” rather than helping and supporting people in trying to make the world more as it “should be.”

    You are on the wrong side of history and the wrong side of the world as it is versus the world as it should be and you’re acting like this is some kind of brave and principled stand. That’s your right of course but it’s not something you should be proud of and it’s not something that will garner any respect from trans people and trans allies.

  15. 167

    Plethora, I’ve known you to be a troll for a while now, but that is some impressive stool water right there. A woman that is primarily or entirely attracted to women is called a lesbian; a lesbian is highly unlikely to be attracted to a person with a penis. It doesn’t matter that the person with a penis identifies as female or male, because in the biological sense, a penis is male regardless.

    Which brings us to trans men and women. The entire point of calling someone trans is that they are a person identifying as male or (in this case) female, while they were born anatomically female or male. And that’s the key point you are muddling, I suspect intentionally: the biological characteristics of their body do not match their gender identity. That is, this person female in terms of self-identified gender, but is biologically male.

    Hence, there is nothing surprising when a lesbian says she does not want to have sex with a trans woman. she’s not turning down the trans-woman out of a desire to keep the gold star as a status or badge*, but out of her attraction to female bodies. The gold star is just incidental to that. I’m sure some people may use it in that way, but it is not automatically so.

    *It does strike me as a goddamn stupid term though. Directly referencing the gold / silver / bronze system for awards probably makes it highly prone to conceits of superiority.

  16. 168

    a lesbian is highly unlikely to be attracted to a person with a penis.

    Because as we all know genitalia is visibly displayed when we’re at the bar performing our ritualized mating calls.

    It doesn’t matter that the person with a penis identifies as female or male, because in the biological sense, a penis is male regardless.

    So’s facial hair.

    The entire point of calling someone trans is that they are a person identifying as male or (in this case) female, while they were born anatomically female or male.

    The entire point is you should walk into on coming traffic and fuck off into oblivion. Seriously why the fuck are trolls like you even here?

  17. 169

    Because as we all know genitalia is visibly displayed when we’re at the bar performing our ritualized mating calls.

    Are you being obtuse deliberately? The post I made was in response to Plethora, who in turn was responding to Lily Cade, who in her turn was responding to the criticism she recieved for “back[ing] out of a scene last minute when I found out my intended scene partner was trans.”

    Sooooo, nothing to do with flirting at a bar. So yes, the genitalia was on display, because it was a porn shoot. And as explained above, a person that is attracted specifically to female anatomy (note the word anatomy; this is a clue that we are talking about the biological sex rather than internal gender) is entirely justified in turning down a partner that has a penis. Part of that whole being-able-to-decide-who-we-have-sex-with thing doncha know.

    The entire point is you should walk into on coming traffic and fuck off into oblivion.

    Just checking: are you suggesting I die for your failure to keep track of a conversation? Your hyperaggression is more in keeping with the AVfM crowd than FTB.

  18. 170

    And as explained above, a person that is attracted specifically to female anatomy (note the word anatomy; this is a clue that we are talking about the biological sex rather than internal gender) is entirely justified in turning down a partner that has a penis.

    I thought we were talking about what homosexuals are attracted to. You (and Cade) insisted it was genitalia. Cade went onto some pseudo scientific rubbish about being able to “identify the scent” of a real woman while you said “a lesbian is highly unlikely to be attracted to a person with a penis.” Since there are many lesbians (both trans and cis) who have no issues sleeping with women with penises and frequently point out it’s women (not genitalia) that they are attracted to both your definition and Cade’s looks lacking. Those same women also don’t fuck trans men despite the whole ‘there being a vagina watchamacallit’. I think, what you two should have said was ‘I am attracted to vaginas and see the people attached to them as secondary.’ That way you wouldn’t be dragging the whole of the L in LGBT into a fight most probably wouldn’t see the point in.

    And more to the fucking point, a person can “legitimately turn down” a partner for any damn reason. That’s a right they have. But their motives aren’t beyond reporach. Much like white porn performers who refuse interracial scenes or studios that insist on playing up racist caricatures in their productions, we can look at the why and say ‘fuck off. that’s bullshit.’ Cade’s rationalizing and essentialist nonsense is bullshit. She can fuck who she pleases and that will never make her assertions about the ‘natural chemical differences’ between a cis woman and trans woman valid. It will stay the self centered prattling of a girl who watched too much L Word.

    Part of that whole being-able-to-decide-who-we-have-sex-with thing doncha know.

    Of course. Likewise a man that refuses to sleep with Jewish women because he thinks they smell of eggs is also exercising his “whole being-able-to-decide-who-we-have-sex-with thing.”

    Your hyperaggression is more in keeping with the AVfM crowd than FTB.

    Don’t add ‘hyper’ to words like aggression. Just say aggression.

  19. 171

    I thought we were talking about what homosexuals are attracted to. You (and Cade) insisted it was genitalia.

    My word was actually anatomy, and genitals are a component of that.

    Cade went onto some pseudo scientific rubbish about being able to “identify the scent” of a real woman…

    This is a dishonest misrepresentation of what she said. There is nothing scientific, psuedo or otherwise, in noting that penises and vaginas can smell differently, and that she prefers one and not the other.

    Since there are many lesbians (both trans and cis) who have no issues sleeping with women with penises and frequently point out it’s women (not genitalia) that they are attracted to both your definition and Cade’s looks lacking.

    You said it: many lesbians are fine with the penis. That is, you chose to say many instead of all. And many other lesbians say that they don’t have any interest in penises, and perhaps find them off-putting.

    Cade is obviously one of the latter and this is completely reasonable.

    Of course. Likewise a man that refuses to sleep with Jewish women because he thinks they smell of eggs is also exercising his “whole being-able-to-decide-who-we-have-sex-with thing.”

    This is one of the least valid analogies I have ever seen. By analogy you are saying that physical attaction to some bodies and not others, with biological sex as the demarcation line (note: this covers almost everyone, as it describes all non-bi sexualities), is akin to anti-semitism.

    Don’t add ‘hyper’ to words like aggression. Just say aggression.

    Don’t get snippy at a perfectly reasonable description of your suggestion that a person should die because you disagree with them.

    You are so silly I’m going to call you… hypersilly.

  20. 172

    My word was actually anatomy, and genitals are a component of that.

    The anatomy of a trans person is almost the same as that of a cis person. So I figured I’d focus on the pieces that are, on average, different so that we can right to the heart of the issue. By her own admittance Cade is attracted to vaginas and the people attached to them are extra. She identifies a unique scent she can supposedly smell. Now, I’m no genius as you clearly are but I’d imagine age, weight, diet, location, acitivity, cleanliness and a host of other factors can influence what a vagina smells like. This is why I called her an essentialist. Throughout Cade’s writing on this she consistently says “real” women have fundamental qualities (scent being one) that identifies them as women. Well, since it’s up in the air whether we can so much as notice pheromones and since even traits like bone density can vary substantially between women of different races, I’m wondering why you say I can’t call this pseudo scientific rubbish? She has made a blanket claim, as have you, about something very specific. The vagina of a cis woman is not the tail of a lemur. It isn’t waffed through the air to mark territory or send signals.

    And that brings me to this idiotic comment from you.

    By analogy you are saying that physical attaction to some bodies and not others, with biological sex as the demarcation line…. is akin to anti-semitism.

    I pointed out that one reason for declining a partner is no more valid than the next and that we can examine the motivations behind the rejection and draw conclusions about the person saying ‘no.’ I also mentioned rejecting partners based on skin color but this is the deflection you choose to hide behind? Maybe if you pretend hard enough my point will go away?

    Spoiler: it won’t. Who we won’t take to our beds is deeply rooted in our biases and preconceptions of the world. Attraction is fluid and dynamic throughout our lives whatever our start point but what we think and say about potential partners isn’t insulated from society’s prejudices. It’s why Cade is calling back to transphobic studies from the 70’s and 80’s that claimed (mostly contradicting each other in the specifics) that post op trans women had fetid vaginas contrasting to the pleasant smell of cis women’s.

    You said it: many lesbians are fine with the penis.

    Yes because being a lesbian is not defined by revulsion or disgust at the sight of penises. So for you and Cade to insist her rejection of all trans women as potential partners is rooted in lesbianism is flat fucking bullshit. I said many lesbians because the list of things they might reject a partner over is likely innumerable. I’d just as easily say most lesbians wouldn’t care about what degree you have.

    P.S. hypersilly is a thing you typed.

  21. 173

    By her own admittance Cade is attracted to vaginas and the people attached to them are extra.

    She said no such thing, and the italicised part along with that entire tangent about the particulars of the smells and such is simply you being snide. “The vagina of a cis woman is not the tail of a lemur”? Don’t be a tosser.

    She’s saying she’s physically attracted to female anatomy, female in the biological sense, which is simply how physical attraction usually works. It is entirely reasonable that such a person would be turned off by something so biologically male as a penis.

    Yes because being a lesbian is not defined by revulsion or disgust at the sight of penises. So for you and Cade to insist her rejection of all trans women as potential partners is rooted in lesbianism is flat fucking bullshit.

    Being a lesbain is typefied by being a woman that is attracted to the female body. Again, in the biological sense. She didn’t reject ‘trans women’, she rejected ‘people that are anatomically male’. This does not single out trans women in the slightest as it includes cis men, but I don’t see you objecting to her turning them down.

    P.S. hypersilly is a thing you typed.

    Hypersilly is a thing you resemble.

  22. 174

    She said no such thing,

    Yes she did. Even in her one comment here she explicitly states it’s the smell and look of a “real” vagina that gets her going. Stop rewriting another person’s position to make it easier for you to defend.

    She’s saying she’s physically attracted to female anatomy, female in the biological sense, which is simply how physical attraction usually works.

    So she’s attracted to female anatomy? Breasts, lighter tones, higher body fat percentage, softer features, longer hair, and of course, because you insist on it, a vagina. Why then does she reject post op trans women who’ve spent a decade on HRT as potential partners?

    This does not single out trans women in the slightest as it includes cis men, but I don’t see you objecting to her turning them down.

    Why would I? It’s an attraction to women not men. But I get why you’d have missed how I mentioned that repeatedly.

  23. 175

    Even in her one comment here she explicitly states it’s the smell and look of a “real” vagina that gets her going.

    You’re either bad at reading or lying. Look again above at the statement you claim she made, then look at her actual words: “It’s the smell and the energy of women that gets me going. I like pussy.” You very blatantly substituted [women] for [“real” vagina], which is not merely inaccurate, but problematic for the following points:

    a) She mentioned women first, pussy second – the reverse of your paraphrase: “By her own admittance Cade is attracted to vaginas and the people attached to them are extra.” So again I reply that she said no such thing

    b) She made no mention of real vs non-real vagina in the slightest; this is pure invention on your part and also what leads me to believe you are arguing dishonestly.

    Why would I? It’s an attraction to women not men. But I get why you’d have missed how I mentioned that repeatedly.

    The situation is extremely simple, but you have been muddying the difference between sex and gender all along. Cade is attracted to the (anatomically) female form. She is not attracted, and perhaps even repelled by the (anatomically) male form. A trans woman is a person with the female gender but male anatomy (hence the term trans to denote the mismatch). Cade is therefore not attracted and justifiably so. The fact that people expect her to be into having sex with a male-bodied person just because the owner of the penis has a identified otherwise is preposterous.

  24. 176

    Wow! People are still going on about how not being able to see genitals means anatomical differences are irrelevant?

    Julian, when are people’s gender identity ever visible? Can you see people’s gender? If not, and if anatomy is irrelevant to sexuality, how does terms like hetero and homosexuality even make sense? If you can’t see who is a man and who is a woman, how can you tell if you’re only romantically interested in one or the other?

  25. 177

    I have not had time to shepherd this discussion in ways I feel are productive, and boy howdy have they gotten unproductive as fuck in the interim.

    Point the first: You do not get to decide who people do or do not have sex with. Nobody gets to decide that but the person in question.

    Point the second: You do not get to judge people for having preferences for certain genital configurations. Most of us do, and those preferences are separate and distinct from your preference in gender presentation. I personally am disinterested in both men and penises — so a trans man who still has a vagina still presents and acts in a gender role I have little interest in. This is not a prejudiced position, it is personal preference. Other men might not have much of a problem having a gay relationship with a trans man who has a vulva, but I’m straight. I don’t judge them for it. They shouldn’t judge me. Nor should one judge Lily Cade for having the genital preference. Thankfully, people are only judging her for the blatantly gender-essentialist, trans-exclusionary and utterly un-nuanced positions she’s espousing here and elsewhere. So, conflation of her genital preference with her anti-trans rhetoric is noted and frowned upon.

    Point the third: Unless you’ve seen them, you do not KNOW a person’s genital configuration. Not even people you assume to be cis. A lesbian precluding trans women from sex without knowing what’s in their pants on the off chance they have male parts is a kinda shitty thing to do, because it’s less to do with their genital configuration and more to do with your personal prejudices against trans women. Okay, you don’t like men — fine. Why are you pretending that trans woman is one, when all you have to go on is whether or not they were assigned male at birth? Why are you conflating the thing in their pants with their gender, calling a trans woman a man because they have a penis, when what you’re ACTUALLY dealing with is TWO different preferences — for women, and for vulvas?

    Point the fourth: if it is vulva and vagina shaped, made out of human flesh and attached to a living person, it is a “real” vagina by any metric that is relevant. Whether it’s attached to a uterus or not, whether it’s your genitals in their “original” configuration, cannot possibly be relevant with regard to whether or not it’s “real”. Pretty sure it’s a physical configuration of genitals, pretty sure it visually matches or approximates the genitals you might like. If you’re still judging them, that’s like being judged for having “fake” tits because they are silicone inserts. They’re yours, you paid for them. They’re real, they are tangible. Stop judging how “original” it all is, because you’re starting to sound like a creationist with that naturalistic fallacy.

    Point the fifth: nobody — and I mean NOBODY — is demanding that any trans woman, penis or no, gets to have sex with a lesbian. See again Point the First. So please stop trotting out that canard because it makes plain that you REALLY just don’t want to admit that trans women are women because you think “woman” entails “no penis”. That sort of physical gender essentialism is exactly what intersectional feminists are up in arms about.

  26. 178

    She made no mention of real vs non-real vagina in the slightest; this is pure invention on your part and also what leads me to believe you are arguing dishonestly.

    It couldn’t possibly be that I’ve read what Cade has said here and elsewhere and see a different context for your quoted line.

    Cade is attracted to the (anatomically) female form.

    If this were true she wouldn’t reject post op trans women who’ve been on HRT for a decade. That she does makes it pretty obvious something else is going on. So what’s your explanation, Holms? Why exactly does Cade reject women who aside from chomosomal make up have entirely female sex characteristics?

    A trans woman is a person with the female gender but male anatomy

    So after hormone therapy and surgery they become cis women?

    Can you see people’s gender? If not, and if anatomy is irrelevant to sexuality, how does terms like hetero and homosexuality even make sense?

    They don’t. They’re poorly defined which is why political lesbian is a thing that exists. Terms like bisexual and pansexual emerged because of a need for better expressing what gets people off. Ditto words like asexual. I figured feminists would be critical of gay/straight dichotomies but looks like I assumed too much.

  27. 179

    Julian:

    It couldn’t possibly be that I’ve read what Cade has said here and elsewhere and see a different context for your quoted line.

    That may be so, but I am not interested in tracking down her various tweets and blog replies elsewhere where she said this that or the other. I am specifically interested what she said here, post 160. That’s it.

    By the way, I note you have omitted mention of the misrepresentation I pointed out, in which you state that she brought up the concept of real vs. non-real vaginas in this very thread (“It’s the smell and the energy of women that gets me going. I like pussy.” ===> “Even in her one comment here she explicitly states it’s the smell and look of a “real” vagina that gets her going.”)… when she very clearly didn’t. Putting the omission and the misrepresentation together, plus the attempted diversion from ‘shooting exlicit porn’ to ‘mating calls at a bar,’ and especially the suggestion that I die because you disagree with me, only sharpens my suspicion that you are not arguing in good faith.

    Oh! Also your obnnoxious shittery in the Tony Hawk 5 thread. Yeah, you’re not here to converse.

    Jason Thibeault:
    Broad agreement, except to note
    1) that I have been discussing Lily Cade only with the porn shoot / anatomy item mentioned in her post 160 in mind, and I’m taking her account of it at face value. Perhaps this is overly restrictive, but even when they are linked here, I am simply not interested in trawling through and interrogating the contents of her various writing outlets.

    2) I agree with your point four, and have argued it myself here (caution: that thread is goddamn crawling with MRA sympathisers), it’s nice to see it laid out at greater length.

  28. 180

    Yeah, you’re not here to converse.

    Look, you pompous ass pimple. Your first post was accusing another poster who did nothing but provide context for Cade’s comments of trolling. Context which you refuse to look at because you don’t like that commentor and assume they’re spreading false information. I’m not about to be lectured by you on how to behave or what’s “arguing in good faith.”

  29. 181

    Holms @163,

    Plethora, I’ve known you to be a troll for a while now, but that is some impressive stool water right there.

    Oh you’ve known have you? If that fiction helps you get through the day who are we to take it away from you? If it genuinely makes you feel better about yourself to shit on us then have at it.

    Though we will say that it seems quite sad that you are unwilling and unable to engage with and address the substance of our comments and instead the “best” you can muster is petty insults and unfounded accusations.

    @175,

    I’m taking her account of it at face value

    Funny how you do this when it’s someone you agree with but when you disagree you toss around unfounded accusations of trolling and imply that others are being deliberately obtuse and not really interested in conversing. In other words you are unable to take at face value the comments of those with whom you disagree and you instead resort to the most childish and lazy excuses possible to justify your othering and your vitriol.

    That may be so, but I am not interested in tracking down her various tweets and blog replies elsewhere where she said this that or the other. I am specifically interested what she said here, post 160. That’s it.

    Perhaps this is overly restrictive, but even when they are linked here, I am simply not interested in trawling through and interrogating the contents of her various writing outlets.

    In other words you are not interested in educating yourself or paying attention to the larger context. That’s your right of course but it really should at least give you pause before you continue to spout off about this topic any further.

    It’s also quite ironic how in one breath you announce that you aren’t interested in anything other than what was written here in this thread and in the very next breath you have the nerve to provide a link to another site. As if you expect others to do what you yourself are unwilling to do. This shows a remarkable lack of self awareness on your part and it makes you seem like a really unpleasant asshole to boot.

  30. 182

    Oh you’ve known have you? If that fiction helps you get through the day who are we to take it away from you? If it genuinely makes you feel better about yourself to shit on us then have at it.

    You’re right to call out whether I know you to be a troll… call it a strong suspicion instead. However, your are wrong to say that I believe it simply to ‘get through the day’ or to ‘feel better’. I say it simply because I believe it to be true.

    Funny how you do this when it’s someone you agree with but when you disagree you toss around unfounded accusations of trolling and imply that others are being deliberately obtuse and not really interested in conversing.

    I like this point you make. According to you, it is bad of me to go easier on people based on being on the same side of a discussion as them. In the same post, you sternly lecture me on calling you a troll, but I don’t see any such disapproval directed at the person that immediately responded by calling me a troll; i.e. exactly the same thing that caught your ire when I said it to you.

    Oh and he also suggested that I die. No word on that? You wouldn’t be giving someone a free pass based on agreeing with them would you? And to think you’re accusing me of having a double standard based on whether I agree with someone, hypocrite.

  31. 184

    You’re right to call out whether I know you to be a troll… call it a strong suspicion instead.

    This is how you talk and then you complain about being called a troll. You’re passive aggressive, dismissive, and consistently patronizing. No wonder you endorse transphobes so strongly.

  32. 185

    Holms @178,

    You’re right to call out whether I know you to be a troll… call it a strong suspicion instead.

    Thanks for being a big enough person to admit this.

    You wouldn’t be giving someone a free pass based on agreeing with them would you?

    Nope until you just mentioned it we hadn’t read the other comments carefully enough to notice that someone called you a troll. IOW no we didn’t give anyone a free pass.

    Nor do we agree with the person who did that now that we have noticed. It’s wrong to accuse others of being a troll (without good evidence) and it’s wrong to tell others to walk into traffic. It’s wrong whether the person doing so is someone we agree with or not. Clear now?

    And to think you’re accusing me of having a double standard based on whether I agree with someone, hypocrite.

    Your weak tea attempt at a tu quoque is duly noted and rejected. See above.

    However we do appreciate that you’ve all but admitted your own hypocrisy in the process (if inadvertently).

  33. 186

    Julian
    And I bet you think go fuck yourself is a rape threat too.

    No, but it does indeed demonstrate that you are too immature for dialogue. See:

    This is how you talk and then you complain about being called a troll. You’re passive aggressive, dismissive, and consistently patronizing.

    You have an astonishing lack of self-awareness. Remember, your very first response to me included a suggestion to die.

    No wonder you endorse transphobes so strongly.

    Non sequitur, and laughable.

    ___

    Plethora
    Nor do we agree with the person who did that now that we have noticed. It’s wrong to accuse others of being a troll (without good evidence) and it’s wrong to tell others to walk into traffic. It’s wrong whether the person doing so is someone we agree with or not. Clear now?

    It remains clear that you did, and continue to have, a double standard. Notice that the person with whom you disagree gets multiple paragraphs of lecturing in the first person, while the other gets a brief scold that isn’t even addressed to them directly? Being that it is followed immediately by a resumption of your lecturing me, it is indeed ‘weak tea’.

    Your weak tea attempt at a tu quoque is duly noted and rejected. See above.

    Wrong. You accused me of having a double standard in how I have addressed people in this thread. I pointed out that you exhibited exactly the same double standard. Being guilty of your own criticism is hypocrisy.

    A tu quoque fallacy on the other hand is when a person uses an accusation of hypocrisy in place of an argument, as an attempt to discredit the initial argument, which means a) not all accusations of hypocrisy are tu quoque, and b) even if it is, the accusation of hypocrisy may still be true. I guess it’s up to you to decide whether your hypocrisy bothers you.

    As for the actual accusation you made – that my statement of “taking her post here at face value” constitutes a double standard – I see no double standard there. I have not seen anything that makes me believe she is arguing dishonestly, but plenty from the two of you. Julian’s bullshit should be obvious now that you have deigned to notice it, so I guess your gripe is that I have not catalogued what led me to believe you are a troll? Sadly, the best I can say to that poiint is that I have seen you on these boards for many months, possibly over a year (how long ago was Avicenna’s blog? I remember you from there initially), and have simply come to have that impression of you. No catalogue, so it may be unsatisfying to you, but there it is.

    So as noted above, NOT tu quoque.

  34. 189

    For the record, I tried to challenge Ophelia’s blatant trans exclusionary and trans antagonistic views directly at her site, but she quietly deleted my last two comments.

    But not before I saved an archive first so everyone can see what kinds of comments she removes.

    https://archive.is/DQPA8

  35. 191

    I’m not keen on you characterizing them giving up on talking to you, Holms, as “flounces” when they have been valuable commenters for far longer than you. Indeed, giving up on butting heads with someone intent on proving you’re a troll when that someone appears to be arguing both sides of the same question in defense of someone who is actively causing harm to a marginalized group is… well, it’s a statement that no further good can come of a conversation.

    Indeed, I’m siding explicitly with Julian and We Are Plethora — with one exception. I am not fond of “walk into traffic”. I think any hyperbolic “wish you’d die” type expressions are unethical, even if I can understand where they come from. To be consistent with my distaste for “go fuck yourself with X damaging implement”, I have to say that is unacceptable. That’s the extent of my “punishment” for it though — saying it’s unacceptable. The sentiment behind it, that you’re defending someone whose ideas have actively hurt trans folk by contributing to the fabric of aggression against them, and that that is an attitude that’s well worthy of criticism and maybe even a hearty “fuck you” for, is absolutely valid though — and one I share.

    When people are talking about the larger context of things said and done by a person, and criticizing those specific behaviours as being part of a pattern that actually hurts a marginalized group, you cannot in good conscience ignore the rest of the instances of rephrasing the same sentiment and assume that ONLY the part that’s immediate — here on this thread — is representative. The greater context is necessary. It is, in fact, vital.

    J.B.: while that is some very harsh criticism, frankly, none of it was without merit. It is all predicated on the pattern of evidence with regard to Ophelia’s attitudes, actions and ideas about gender. Funny enough, it parallels the fight here with Holms over Lily Cade.

  36. 192

    I got a rather bitter chuckle out of Ophelia deleting all of J.B.’s criticism on a post entitled “Stop the Silencing”. Ophelia’s recent interest in the Freeze Peach is very, very selective.

  37. 193

    Re: the recent Lily Cade derail. The curious notion of the “gold star” lesbian seems a bit like another, actually despicable, notion that society has about sex, relating to the alleged “purity” of virginity – the idea that someone’s personal status in life is fundamentally and irrevocably altered by a specific act of coitus, and that for women this loss is almost always negative to their character and person. While the concept of virginity is an obviously and odiously sexist idea, the “gold star” idea is not quite so clearly transphobic – at least not without adding a few more separate ideas to it – and here, the dubious bio-essentialist and pseudo-scientific justifications offered in support of it, when post-op trans women come to be mentioned, most certainly are transphobic. Give bigots enough rope…

    As for the erasure of comments, J.B., that’s sad but at least you archived them; they’re harsh, but the time for softer words elapsed way back. I found a comment on this long but worthwhile essay about no platforming (which relates to the letter of complaint in The Observer earlier this year). Content warning for gross transphobia elsewhere in the comments (a common bane in comments sections, like here above); this poem was adapted from Hardy’s “The Ruined Maid” (which has it’s own Victorian gloss on the idea of loss of status) by Catherine Butler:

    “The Silenced Maid”
    “Oh Julie,* my dear, this is quite a surprise!To find you in Broadcasting House telling lies,With a news slot at one and a chat show at three!” —“O didn’t you know I’d been silenced?” said she.

    — “You left us in tatters and buckets were shed,You were hounded off Twitter by trannies, you said,Yet look at you now, getting prepped for TV!” —“Yes: that’s how we dress when we’re silenced,” said she.

    — “I wish I had contacts, a column or so,The PM on speed-dial, my own TV show!”“My dear — a raw trans woman, such as you be,Cannot quite expect that. You ain’t silenced,” said she.

    * Other trochees are available.

    I find it difficult to feel sorry for the silenced feminists who are still published in major newspapers, have dozen of books to their name, and obtain media interviews at the drop of an ineffective petition. They are sooooo silenced.

Comments are closed.