Trans People Need Abortion Access, Too [Video w/ Transcription]

Transcription below the fold!

Hey there, Internet! I’m Luxander and today I want to talk about abortion.

Let me clarify that I am pro-choice and I consider abortion to be a human right. This is not a video where we’re discussing the ethics of abortion. If my commenters want to have a discussion about that, we can do a different video and have that debate on a separate forum. That’s not what this is for.

As you may be aware, there was a shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado very recently. Three people died and several others were injured. This has reignited the American political flame war about abortion. Many pro-choice people have said that this reoccurring series of terrorist attacks on Planned Parenthood and on abortion clinics constitutes a war on women’s reproductive rights.

While I do agree that this constitutes a war on reproductive rights, I absolutely have to denounce the idea that this is a war on women’s rights. Why, you might ask?

First of all, not all women are capable of getting pregnant. Trans women can’t get pregnant, and a lot of cis women can’t get pregnant because of various health reasons. But they’re still women. Second of all, many non-women can get pregnant, such as trans men, non-binary people, and some intersex people. (Some of whom may or may not identify themselves as women.)

For example, I am a transmasculine person who was capable of getting pregnant before I started hormone therapy. If I were to stop taking T at this point, I would be able to get pregnant again. I would be a trans person who might need access to abortion. My rights would be under attack just as much as those of cis women who are capable of getting pregnant.

Centering our pro-abortion rhetoric around women is inherently erasing of the existence and needs of trans individuals.

What’s interesting is that in certain trans-aware spaces, using gender-neutral terminology to talk about this can result in backlash. (For those of you watching [reading] this on Freethought Blogs, I apologize, it’s a little bit redundant because you probably already know what’s going on.)

Abortion provider Dr. Leah Torres posted some tweets back in September discussing the importance of bodily autonomy in relation to access to abortion. She used neutral phrases like “people who can get pregnant,” which is ideal when you’re discussing who may need abortion access. “People who can get pregnant.”

Former FTB blogger Ophelia Benson called out Dr. Torres on Twitter saying that she was erasing women (read: cis women) from the topic of discussion. There’s a storify of this exchange which I’ll put in the link below which basically shows Ophelia aggressively “correcting” Dr. Torres’ tweets by repeatedly saying “women” and “the word you’re looking for is ‘woman’.”

What Benson failed to understand is that the entire discussion around abortion is already centered on women. It’s only in really small spaces that trans people are even acknowledged in this.

In this particular discussion, cis women have the privilege. They’re the ones whose rights are being discussed and talked about, and it’s not their existence that’s being glossed over and swept under the rug.

Using gender-neutral terminology the way that Dr. Torres does is actually the most accurate and correct way to talk about who needs access to abortion. “People who can get pregnant.” Because not all women can get pregnant, and a lot of people who aren’t women can get pregnant.

I cannot repeat this enough: Centering the pro-abortion rhetoric around the rights of women is inherently erasing of the existence and needs of transgender individuals. Using gender-neutral terminology in no way hurts cis women and is actually a step in the right direction.

I ask you to please like and share this video because this is a topic that needs to be addressed. Trans erasure is an issue, it’s very important, and it needs to stop.

If you enjoyed this rant, feel free to subscribe for more content like this and you can check out my older videos about gender and all the wondrous things that I’ve had to say about it.

So, thank you all so much for watching, and have a day!

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Trans People Need Abortion Access, Too [Video w/ Transcription]

96 thoughts on “Trans People Need Abortion Access, Too [Video w/ Transcription]

  1. 1

    Yeah. The wars were constituted long ago. Some people seem determined to keep reconstituting particular bits of them out of the never-ending hostilities.

    Another group who may be people who can become pregnant are those under the age where one would not normally call them by the adult version of the traditional binary gender identity.

    (And very recently i read about someone doing HRT who did, in fact, get pregnant, and was a bit surprised, IIRC.)

    1. 1.1

      True, I didn’t think of underage people getting pregnant. I think they would be lumped in with “women” if they were cis. Which is not something I’m necessarily opposed to, because I think it’s weird to infantalize minors who are just a few years shy of adulthood.

      And yeah, I may know which story you’re talking about. If it’s the black couple, he actually had stopped taking his hormones in order to get a mastectomy. (I don’t know why that was a necessary thing but maybe it was to avoid complications in surgery?)

      1. Oh. Maybe that was it then. Stopping the hormones…

        And I don’t mean to infantilize minors, but adultizing 12 year olds is a bit…idk. And is it really infantilizing to call a 12 or 14 year old a boy or girl (on the binary scale)? There’s that whole young woman/man designation, but it seems awfully limiting for the boy/girl usage to be stuck in extreme early childhood, and going the other way adds a lot of other expectation and assumption baggage. But i don’t know. I suppose it is best context-dependent and choice of identification of the individual. In this context, i suppose the cis woman identification makes perfect sense, but also i am thinking some about how the, um, opposition likes tyo define things, since that seems to be their game.

  2. 2

    Sexual assault is also typically spoken of as a women’s issue, and this is justified by saying that women are more likely than men to be victims of sexual assault than men. However, queer men are about as likely to be victims of sexual assault as women are (citation upon demand). As a queer man, I’ve been sexually assaulted, and for me it is not an issue about women, nor about sexism. It might be better for me personally if people just talked about victims of sexual assault rather than about women and sexism.

    But I wouldn’t say it was inherently erasing queer men if people talk about it as a women’s issue, since it is after all a women’s issue for other people, and women are a larger demographic than queer men.

    I would guess that abortion access is similar, leading me to a position between yours and OB’s. But since the issue of abortion isn’t close to me, instead I would ask, do you think it’s analogous or disanalogous?

    1. 2.1

      I do think that’s analagous, but I *would* say that it’s inherently erasing of queer men (and cis men and other demographics who are victims of sexual assault) to center the discussion on women. It has bothered me in the past, but that issue is less close to me because I’m not a victim of sexual assault.

      I do kinda see why people make that discussion mostly about women, because of the historical significance of women being subjugated by men. But there is definitely a prevalent issue of queer men being assaulted and I find that it’s often glossed over. I’ve actually had male friends who were victims of sexual assault be told that they’re derailing a discussion by talking about their lived experience. Which is confusing and infuriating.

  3. 3

    Liked and shared.

    It’s baffling how Ophelia Benson or anyone else could possibly conclude that using more accurate and inclusive language amounts to erasing women. This seems more like a justification of anti trans bigotry than a genuine concern about erasure. Like it’s just part of some mental gymnastics routine designed to rationalize and excuse trans exclusionary language and policies. In the past we’ve tried to engage with Ophelia about this but she blocked us from her site and deleted comments instead of responding substantively.

    Women are included in the category “pregnant people” or “people who can become pregnant” whereas trans men are not included in the cateory of “women.” Using the more accurate and inclusive term doesn’t erase anyone. But even if we were to grant (for the sake of argument) that using the more inclusive term does amount to erasure of women then surely using a less inclusive term also amounts to erasure and exclusion of trans folks. Ophelia is openly advocating for trans exclusionary language and policies while at the same time whailing and ghashing her teeth over being labeled as trans exclusionary.

  4. 4

    To be perfectly cynical about it, the phrase “The War on Women” was never intended to be accurate or inclusive. It’s a framing device used by the Democratic party to put the Republican’s policies on Reproductive Health, Equal Pay, etc. in the worst light possible. It’s designed to motivate a major constituency of the Democrats (Women and Feminist allies) so as to elect more Democrats to office. It’s not called, “The War on Those Who Can Get Pregnant or Who are Presenting as Female” because that probably didn’t poll as well. /s

    Personally, I don’t see what the hubbub is about expanding the discussion of abortion rights to anybody capable of getting pregnant. I expect to see wringing of hands over being forced to use “politically correct” terminology from the right, it’s kind of dispiriting to see it from Feminists, especially those I agree with on many other topics..

  5. 5

    @ 3 We are Plethora

    It’s baffling how Ophelia Benson or anyone else could possibly conclude that using more accurate and inclusive language amounts to erasing women. This seems more like a justification of anti trans bigotry than a genuine concern about erasure. Like it’s just part of some mental gymnastics routine designed to rationalize and excuse trans exclusionary language and policies. In the past we’ve tried to engage with Ophelia about this but she blocked us from her site and deleted comments instead of responding substantively.

    Your blocking probably had more to do with your tendency to invent nefarious motives and ascribe them to Ophelia Benson, here and elsewhere. Nobody who has read what she actually has to say on the subject could reasonably consider your speculation credible.

    For example:

    I think it’s a huge political mistake to talk about abortion rights in terms of “pregnant people” and “people who can get pregnant.” I think it’s a huge political mistake to drop women from the discussion in order to be inclusive to trans men (and gender fluid people and yadda yadda). The struggle over abortion rights is the way it is because of misogyny and sexism. It would be a very different struggle, if it existed at all, if women were and always had been considered equals. For that reason, it’s a massive mistake to talk about abortion in terms of “people” instead of “women.”

    Source: butterfliesandwheels.org/2015/if-men-got-pregnant-abortion-would-be-a-sacrament/

    Because women, as a class, are subordinated, treated as inferior, denied rights, considered not fully human. Why is that? Partly because they’re the ones who have the babies. It’s a loop.

    Source: butterfliesandwheels.org/2015/because-people-dont-get-pregnant-women-get-pregnant/

    Women are enslaved because they’re the ones who have the babies, and they can be enslaved this way because they are women – second class, subordinate, inferior – lesser, lower, slavish, thing-like, property. That’s why I think it’s a bad mistake to erase women from the politics of abortion and contraception rights: it’s because it’s political, and it’s political as the class of men subordinating the class of women.

    Source: butterfliesandwheels.org/2015/erased-from-the-dialogue/

    And that’s why it’s a mistake to stop talking about women as the targets of efforts to eliminate freedom of reproduction.

    Because reproduction isn’t neutral. Because reproduction is central to why women are an oppressed class. Because women already get erased and ignored and shoved aside everywhere you look, so it’s not “progressive” to do even more of that.

    Source: butterfliesandwheels.org/2015/we-need-to-talk-about-women-as-a-class/

    Whether you find the argument compelling or not, she is obviously motivated by a genuine concern that the use of gender neutral language is white-washing the gendered nature of the prejudice. That is, the only reason abortion (and contraception) are controversial in the first place is that in a patriarchal society, women — as a cultural gendered class — are relegated to the role of baby-makers and child-rearers and are considered obligated to fulfil that role. Feminists often say that if men (not as individuals, but as a dominant class) got pregnant, abortion would be uncontroversial.

    It’s similar to saying that when talking about police shooting unarmed men, we mustn’t avoid mentioning race, because all too often the victims are black and killed because they are black. Likewise, not only are most pregnant people women, the attack on abortion rights only exists because they are women.

    The suggestion that she’s just inventing reasons to be mean to trans people is an asinine thing to say.

    1. 5.1

      The quotes you pulled don’t exactly make OB out to be someone who cares about trans people. “yadda yadda” kind of hugely implies that she gives zero fucks.

      Trans people are also subordinated, treated as inferior, denied rights, and considered not fully human. Trans people are also erased and ignored and shoved aside. Even moreso in situations like this one, where their reproductive rights are considered completely unimportant compared to those of women. All these quotes basically scream “trans people don’t matter because women are more important.”

      Erasing trans people from the discussion on reproductive rights is the class of cis people subordinating the class of trans people.

      1. @ Lux

        I know.

        The only thing I would quibble with is that, “trans people don’t matter because women are more important” may be better expressed as, “transphobia only exists because misogyny exists, therefore misogyny is the greater problem”. I’m not saying that’s necessarily true — there seem to be no shortage of transphobic feminists — but it’s arguable that in a hypothetical world of gender equality, there would be no rationale for transphobia.

        Still, I agree that trans people are being swept under the rug in a cis-centric world in precisely the same way that women have been swept under the rug in a patriarchal world. And I support inclusive language and greater awareness of trans people.

    2. 5.2

      Nobody who has read what she actually has to say on the subject could reasonably consider your speculation credible.

      I did. And had to completely change my mind about her.

      And i think part of the problem is also “cis women are a large and established and obvious demographic group”. A majority disenfranchised group. Which also tends to start showing inclusivity problems with women who aren’t white, as well as with trans women. Sometimes the exclusion is loud and extreme. (And I don’t know how widely that applies to, say, non-het women or other groups.)

    3. AMM
      5.3

      Nobody who has read what she [OB] actually has to say on the subject could reasonably consider your speculation credible.

      I’m a counterexample.

      I’ve read more than enough by OB. I suffered through the whole OB vs. trans women thing this past summer. It is not only credible but obvious to me that she is Cathy-Brennan-style transphobic, and it is more than credible to me that she would consider invalidating trans people of any gender worth any damage done to people she is supposedly an ally to.

      A side effect of that “debate” is that I’m left with a presumption of bad faith on the part of pretty much any defense or defender of her. Sorry, but there was just too much hate from OB and her fans for me to give them the benefit of the doubt.

      1. @ AMM

        Fair enough.

        The quoted sentence was in relation to something specific. The speculation I don’t think credible is that in the interaction with Torres, Ophelia had no “genuine concern about erasure”, it was a “mental gymnastics routine”. I think the evidence is overwhelming that she does have a genuine concern, even if misguided.

        I recall you had two “guest posts” on B&W, so if you feel that way now, I’ve not doubt it’s for good reason.

      2. I’m thirding that, too. I was a fan of OB (in fact I still have one of her books on my shelf), and a quick search will reveal some guest posts of mine on her blog. I initially swept her transphobic views under the rug, but the weight of evidence eventually forced a confrontation. I’m now lumped in as one of the people conspiring against her, because at a time when many people were ignoring or minimizing the evidence I tried to make it more widely available.

  6. 6

    Silentbob @5,
    quoting Ophelia Benson:

    I think it’s a huge political mistake to drop women from the discussion in order to be inclusive to trans men (and gender fluid people and yadda yadda).

    And that’s why it’s a mistake to stop talking about women as the targets of efforts to eliminate freedom of reproduction.

    This is absurd zero sum reasoning. It’s no different from anti gay bigots suggesting that legalization of same sex marriage would somehow lead to degradation of marriage itself. No really they aren’t homophobes honest they aren’t they just think it’s a political mistake to sully the sanctity of marriage by being inclusive to gay folks.

    Let’s get real just who in the hell is suggesting dropping women from the discussion about abortion and reproductive rights? And how pray tell would using more inclusive gender neutral language lead to that? Please explain in detail how this would even work.

    Whether you find the argument compelling or not, she is obviously motivated by a genuine concern that the use of gender neutral language is white-washing the gendered nature of the prejudice.

    Unfortunately your apologetics are even less compelling than her absurd arguments. At the end of the day you are merely picking nits about someone’s motivations for espousing trans exclusionary language and policies. If it’s based on some kind of genuine albeit completely misguided concern rather than overt bigotry well then bully for her. Though that’s about the lowest bar you could possibly set isn’t it?

    The suggestion that she’s just inventing reasons to be mean to trans people is an asinine thing to say.

    Indeed it is an asinine thing to say though it’s really more your creation than ours. After all surely you grok the difference between the kind of motivated reasoning mentioned @3 and “just inventing reasons to be mean” right?

  7. 7

    […] “Trans People Need Abortion Access, Too [Video w/ Transcription]“–“If I were to stop taking T at this point, I would be able to get pregnant again. I would be a trans person who might need access to abortion. My rights would be under attack just as much as those of cis women who are capable of getting pregnant.” […]

  8. 8

    #5 Silentbob

    Your blocking probably had more to do with your tendency to invent nefarious motives and ascribe them to Ophelia Benson, here and elsewhere.

    Yet you state, just at the end of that post:

    Whether you find the argument compelling or not, she is obviously motivated by a genuine concern that the use of gender neutral language is white-washing the gendered nature of the prejudice.

    You need to drink the tallest glass of Shut the Fuck Up you can find, Silentbob. I don’t give one flying fuck what OB’s ignorant intentions are, I care about the actual consequences of OB’s actions.

    But I suppose you’ll try to cisplain your way out of how you rationalized that we ascribed “nefarious motives” while, to you, OB’s motives are “obvious concern.”

    Fuck. Right. Off.

  9. 9

    Your blocking probably had more to do with your tendency to invent nefarious motives and ascribe them to Ophelia Benson, here and elsewhere.
    Yet you state, just at the end of that post:
    Whether you find the argument compelling or not, she is obviously motivated by a genuine concern that the use of gender neutral language is white-washing the gendered nature of the prejudice

    Yes, Plethora introduced the subject of motives, and Silentbob challenged her on that.

    No idea how you figure Silentbob addressing the topic the person he’s addressing raised is some kind of “gotcha,” but I don’t look for stellar reasoning from someone whose idea of argument is telling their opponent to shut the fuck up.

    And, yes, the war on abortion is a war on women; on our right to bodily integrity, on our right to order our lives, and our right to choose whether or not to lend our bodies and risk our health to nurture fetuses. It is a thoroughly gendered war, and there are decades worth of theory behind the observation that it is grounded in the oppression of women (as a class) by men (as a class.)

    Somehow I never see trans men insisting on these sorts of linguistic erasures of cis men. Perhaps that has something to do with privilege.

    1. 9.1

      I can concede that the main point of the contention surrounding abortion has historically and presently been about controlling women. The point of the video and of discussing the use of gender-neutral language is that it’s now damn near 2016 and we, as feminists, are now aware that in the War on Women, there are other casualties in pregnancy-capable trans people. Allowing the discussion to continue to be centered on women is to allow the erasure of trans people from the public eye. It’s difficult enough for us to get healthcare, especially reproductive healthcare, without feminists contributing to that erasure within our own spaces.

      Yes, women are a subordinated class, and yes, they are subordinated by men as a class. Meanwhile, trans people might as well not exist.

      1. @^ For the record (not that I’m under the illusion anyone gives a fuck 😉 ), I endorse everything said here.

        I was explaining the contra-arguments (that were being badly misunderstood/misrepresented) not endorsing them.

        Far more compelling is the argument that there is an urgent social need to raise consciousness about the existence and plight of transgender and other gender variant people. I actually applaud Torres for her use of inclusive language.

  10. 11

    Centering our pro-abortion rhetoric around women is inherently erasing of the existence and needs of trans individuals.

    QFT. Trans* men are hit by this particularly hard.

    Cisgender people, particularly white individuals, have the privilege when seeking health care of being able to present as their authentic selves without fear. Transgender people, especially people of color, do not. Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler, an Oakland, California-based filmmaker, writer, and scholar who is also a Black transgender man, told me that for himself and other trans men he knows, the experience of accessing medical services is fraught with bodily exposure and the risk of discrimination.

    For instance, while traveling out of town once, he went to an urgent care clinic for a cold. “The nurse noticed I had a prescription for testosterone and asked me about it. So I ‘came out’ to some random [registered nurse] because I had a cold, [even though] it had nothing to do with anything else,” he said.

    By using inclusive language, we help normalize their access to health care and remove the stigma of being trans*. That some people take issue with this outs them as the bigots they are.

  11. 13

    I absolutely have to denounce the idea that this is a war on women’s rights.

    Do you see any value in a system-level analysis that sees restricting reproductive freedom as part of a culture that represses and control women? Or is any such analysis inherently oppressive? As an analogy, not all women worry about their size and not all people who worry about their size are women, but there is a lot of useful scholarship on how the diet industry harms women. Similarly, it makes sense to me to talk about police violence as a anti-Black phenomenon even though they’re not the only victims.

  12. 14

    lmao

    If this really is exclusively a war on women and if women are so reviled in this society that it’s hatred of them singlehandedly keeping that war going, doesn’t it then make sense to broaden the language so that other less hated groups become part of th discussion?

    Similarly, it makes sense to me to talk about police violence as a anti-Black phenomenon even though they’re not the only victims.

    Part of why this analogy doesn’t work for me is that white people ultimately suffer under police violence because they’re so much more terrified of the black community. Police violence does impact others but they largely accept it as necessary to prevent black rioting or whatever. Much like with social welfare programs where white whites will insist on defunding them even if poor whites stand to gain a lot from that safety net. Here, trans men aren’t benifiting and aren’t trying to preserve the denial of abortion care. They very much want it to be available and don’t want to be pushed out of the discussion.

  13. 15

    As somebody who can drink a cuppa coffee and read a blogpost at the same time I am also able to recognise that the attack on reproductive rights in most of the world is motivated by biology=destiny misogyny AND able to recognise that it affects more people than fertile cis women.
    I do not have to accept the biologistic and misogynistic framing of the right
    My feminist anlysis does not depend on their framing of the issue.
    Just because the right does not accept the existence of men and non-binary people withworking ovaries and uteri I don’t have to accept their definition of “woman”.
    To use an analogy: Just because some people of the religious right don’t want to do anything about climate change because they believe the bible talks about dominion over the earth and believe in a close rapture does NOT make AGC a matter of theology. They don’t have to declare war on polar bears for us to recognise that they’re killing them.

  14. 16

    Are trans people to cis women as white people are to black people?

    Not all victims of police violence are Black or white. The relevant analogy is

    women:targets of abortion restrictions::
    Black people:targets of police violence

    Not all women are potentially affected by abortion restrictions in the way that Black people are potential targets of police violence, so the analogy is flawed.

  15. 17

    There is nothing wrong with making it your first priority is to fight for the liberation of women from that patriarchal oppression, and in doing so to recognize that our child-bearing ability is controlled in order to control *women as a class.” Trans men are also victims of this for the same reason — because, regardless of their gender identify, the patriarchy perceives trans men as women. And, when it comes to abortion, there is only one very obvious reason why trans men are affected. Because they have child bearing bodies.
    .
    Not all trans men can have babies, and not all women can have babies, but that doesn’t for a moment change the fact that abortion restrictions exist to control women *as a class.*
    .
    I would think that if your first priority is to fight for the liberation of trans men from patriarchal oppression in the form of abortion restrictions, you would want to target the reasons why those restrictions exist, and make politically smart decisions about how to gather the political force to upend the whole oppressive structure. Harnessing the political power of half the human species, and correctly naming the reason for their oppression, seems like a pretty smart strategy.
    .
    Wombs are restricted and controlled because that’s a useful tool for oppressing women as a class. It makes no sense to reframe the whole abortion discussion to make it sound as though certain undifferentiated people are oppressed on account of their having wombs. That’s getting it backward.
    .
    Erasing women as a class from discussions about abortion seems like it’s not only a bad idea from the perspective of smart strategic political organizing, but also completely unnecessary. We can use other strategies to ensure that trans men can access abortion, that their particular needs are served, and that they’ll benefit from the fight to end abortion restrictions.

    1. 17.2

      Wombs are restricted and controlled because that’s a useful tool for oppressing women as a class. It makes no sense to reframe the whole abortion discussion to make it sound as though certain undifferentiated people are oppressed on account of their having wombs. That’s getting it backward.

      Nope. Actually, historically, really, women as a class were and are oppressed exactly because they, as a class, have the capability to reproduce. Why do you think men freak out over non-virgin cis women and cheating women? Why infertile women were shunned, divorced, shipped off to nunneries? The people with the wombs got called women and the access to those wombs got restricted.
      Now we’Re smarter than that. We know that not everybody who’s a woman has a working womb and that not everybody with a womb is a woman.
      Yes, I know, conservatives don’t accept that, they believe that trans women are men and trans men are women who need to be put in their place, but since I don’t accept their definitions I don’t accept their framing.
      I don’t have to throw people under the bus just because throwing that particular group of people under the bus is quite popular.
      You got a choice in those matters, you know?

  16. 18

    I would think that if your first priority is to fight for the liberation of trans men from patriarchal oppression in the form of abortion restrictions, you would want to target the reasons why those restrictions exist, and make politically smart decisions about how to gather the political force to upend the whole oppressive structure.

    Let’s deal with some hard truths, shall we? Abortion rights were won, much like marriage equality rights now, through agitation and forcing the fight into courts. It was legal arguments more than anything else that actually accomplished anything. Public opinion did not change and you’re seeing that exact same thing now where a massive bulk of women consistently vote against abortion rights and healthcare protections. Women do not vote against abortion because they wish to infringe on their own rights but because they believe the porpaganda.

    You are holding on to a framework that isn’t helping you preserve the rights you’ve, for all purposes, lost in key areas. So let me ask you, Chavez, in what what way are you “fightin for the liberation of women” besides this refusal to adapt to a new battlefield?

  17. Ash
    19

    “While I do agree that this constitutes a war on reproductive rights, I absolutely have to denounce the idea that this is a war on women’s rights. Why, you might ask?
    First of all, not all women are capable of getting pregnant. Trans women can’t get pregnant, and a lot of cis women can’t get pregnant because of various health reasons.”

    Thanks! This is precisely why I tell people that #BlackLivesMatter is not a struggle for human rights!

    I deplore racism, but fundamentally, racism has nothing to do with human rights!
    I deplore how Israel treats Palestinians, but fundamentally, Palestinian oppression by Israel has nothing to do with human rights. Not only are many humans not Palestinian, but many Palestinians do not live in either Gaza, Israel, or the West Bank.

    I appreciate your clear defense of this argument stated in your post!

  18. 21

    Lady Mondegreen @8,

    Somehow I never see trans men insisting on these sorts of linguistic erasures of cis men.

    Or perhaps it has more to do with the fact that you aren’t paying enough attention to trans men. Could that be a factor?

    Silentbob,

    I was explaining the contra-arguments (that were being badly misunderstood/misrepresented) not endorsing them.

    Espousing trans exclusionary language and policies on the back of absurd contra-arguments still amounts to bigotry at the end of the day. So at best all you’re doing is making excuses for bigotry.

    I actually applaud Torres for her use of inclusive language.

    Oh well that’s great. Unfortunately your applause means nothing if you continue to act as an apologist for someone who vehemently disagrees to the point where she took it upon herself to harass Torres on Twitter until she had to be blocked. Why don’t you go explain the contra-arguments to Ophelia Benson since she’s is so badly misunderstanding/misrepresenting them? Could it be that your explanations would not be welcome at Benson’s place?

    Jennifer Chavez @15,

    Erasing women as a class from discussions about abortion…

    This ridiculous rhetoric needs to be called out each and every time it raises its ugly head. Using more inclusive language in no way erases women from the discussion and it’s straight irrational and nonsensical to claim otherwise. If you disagree then please explain it in detail and show your work. How precisely would this erasure happen how would it manifest in real life and in what way would more inclusive language lead to that erasure? Lay it out for us.

    Further if you claim that women are being erased by use of more inclusive language then surely you have to accept the corollary that trans people are being erased by use of less inclusive language. In which case you are openly advocating for trans exclusionary language and policies.

    We can use other strategies to ensure that trans men can access abortion, that their particular needs are served, and that they’ll benefit from the fight to end abortion restrictions.

    You want to deliberately use trans exclusionary language but you’ll use “other strategies” for trans men? So in other words you believe that trans men should be “separate but equal?” Is that about right?

      1. @ Lux Pickel

        Srsly? 😯

        As far as the bit directed at me goes, I thought it was so silly there was nothing worth responding to. But in that case…

        @ 19 We are Plethora

        1. No, explaining why some feminists think it important to use gendered language when discussing abortion is no more making excuses for bigotry than explaining the theories of Karl Marx is making excuses for Stalinist Russia.

        2. I don’t explain the reasons for inclusive language to Ophelia Benson because she knows them already. She’s said so. She said so to Torres. You think she hasn’t read this post and Melby’s storify and the various other posts on FtB about her altercation with Torres? You think nobody on Twitter took issue with her? You think she doesn’t understand non-women get pregnant? It’s not the case she misunderstands the arguments. She doesn’t agree with them.

  19. 22

    @Jennifer Chavez
    Okay, so you would be okay with a statement like “as a result of misogyny and the war on women, people who can become pregnant – most women in addition to transgender men and non-binary people – have their autonomy taken away from them” when talking about those who are impacted by the assault on reproductive rights? That’s making it clear that the attack on abortion stems from misogyny while simultaneously raising social consciousness about a group of people who are often rendered completely invisible in these conversations yet are still impacted to exactly the same degree (which has repercussions for their healthcare treatment). It’s including both cause (“misogyny/war on women”) and casualty (“people who can become pregnant”).

    @Lux Pickel

    I can concede that the main point of the contention surrounding abortion has historically and presently been about controlling women. The point of the video and of discussing the use of gender-neutral language is that it’s now damn near 2016 and we, as feminists, are now aware that in the War on Women, there are other casualties in pregnancy-capable trans people. Allowing the discussion to continue to be centered on women is to allow the erasure of trans people from the public eye. It’s difficult enough for us to get healthcare, especially reproductive healthcare, without feminists contributing to that erasure within our own spaces.
    Yes, women are a subordinated class, and yes, they are subordinated by men as a class. Meanwhile, trans people might as well not exist.

    I agree with this.

  20. 23

    Well, I’ll generally agree with your thesis or argument that there’s at least some justification for using neutral phrases like “people who can get pregnant”: who else is going to need an abortion? At least for themselves.

    However, I can also sympathize with Benson’s position insofar as it denies or disputes the article of faith held by many “feminists” and trans-activists that “trans women are women”. Not according to any of the dictionairies that I’m aware of, to wit:

    wom•an (woom′ən), n. pl. wom•en (wĭm′ĭn)
    1. An adult female human.

    fe•male (fē′māl′), adj.
    1.a. Of or denoting the sex that produces ova or bears young.

    By which token Bruce Jenner isn’t ever going to qualify as such – even if he had the necessary gender reassignment surgery to acquire some ersatz genitalia, which seems moot. Now while it is true that that definition is in fact socially constructed – i.e., we, as a society, have decided to use that combination of letters to denote the specified physiology – the fact of the matter is that a rather large percentage of the population – some 49% as a matter of fact – actually do possess such phsyiology, and that there is some value in having a term to describe those individuals and the other 51%.

    While I do sympathize with the plight of those who feel they are of a different sex than the one assigned at birth and/or that is consistent with those type of biological definitions (as is the case with Jenner), attempting to base a definition for “woman” merely on largely subjective and idiosyncratic stereotypes – and for which Greer herself might reasonably be faulted – is going to be a fool’s game, and will serve only to send everyone riding madly off in all directions – as the “Benson debacle” clearly illustrates. As Francis Bacon put it in his Novum Organum some four hundred years ago, “Therefore shoddy and inept application of words lays siege to the intellect in wondrous way”. Amen to that.

    1. 23.1

      Please fuck right off with your dictionary-definition ‘splaining. “Marriage” has been defined as a union between a man and a woman according to the dictionary even long after same-sex marriages were being performed and held as valid by the state. Dictionaries update as language changes, and usually very late.

      A huge portion of the work trans people and their allies do in educating people is making clear that there is a distinction between the social construct of gender and the social construct of sex. Biological essentialism is not useful, nor is it welcome. Especially on a trans woman’s blog.

  21. 24

    Yes, it is true that “marriage has [traditionally] been defined as …” – good point.

    However, that is a rather different kettle of fish from the definitions for male/female and, to a lesser extent, those for man/woman: in the second “kettle” we find, if we’re not totally anti-science and anti-intellectual and dogmatic to a fault, that there are some quite real and quite tangible differences, of a biological and procreative nature, between large portions of the human population, i.e., some 49% can produce ova and/or bear young, while another 49% can produce sperm.

    And those differences need to be identified as such for any number of quite justified reasons – differences to which we thereby assign different labels, i.e., “words”. It will, and does, cause no end of grief and confusion if people insist on their own idiosyncratic definitions that have neither rhyme nor reason to them. As Alice said to Humpty Dumpty, “The question is … whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

    And somewhat apropos of which, I might then ask what definition you have in mind for “woman”. Curious that no one has been prepared to do so, but maybe you would care to try your luck and come up with a specific definition for the term yourself; I’m sure the world’s dictionaries, and Women’s Studies groups all across the land, are waiting – with bated breath – for the answer to that age-old question. To get you started, might I suggest the following:

    “wom•an (woom′ən), n. pl. wom•en (wĭm′ĭn)
    1. A person who is weak in math, has an inordinate fondness for shoes, and turns on the waterworks at the drop of a hat (preferably with lace & feathers and a fetching yellow ribbon) ….”

    The point being, of course, that to base a definition on stereotypes is, as mentioned, going to be a fool’s game, and will not be conducive to any lasting progress – only to the generation of animosity and hurt feelings.

    1. 24.1

      Women are people who identify themselves as belonging to the social category of women. It’s pretty simple. Gender is an identity thing, a personality thing, not something rooted in biology. Even though most AFAB people identify as women. Considering them one and the same is demonstrably falsified by the existence of trans people.

      There are also intersex people who identify themselves as women. One specific example I remember reading was someone who was assigned female at birth, having the external appearance of female genitalia. She never got her period, and ended up finding out that she had testes inside her and not ova. She had the outward appearance of a woman and continued to identify as a woman despite being intersex and not 100% biologically female. Thus showing that a) sex is not binary and b) sex and gender aren’t mutually inclusive concepts.

      1. So “Women are people who identify themselves as belonging to the social category of women”? But you still haven’t provided anything in the way of specific characteristics – like “produces ova”, or “produces sperm” – that define that particular category, that differentiates members of it from those of other categories – like the paradigmatic minerals and vegetables. Categories tend to be largely useless without such specifications – why they’re listed in dictionaries and encyclopaedias for reference. And why they’re central to the science of taxonomy which you might do well to give some serious thought to.

        In addition, while I might concede that “gender is an identity thing”, and that biological sex is a subset or a component of gender with gender including various other attributes of a psychological nature, I think that you and many others are engaged, by intent for questionable motives or inadvertently, in the logical fallacy of equivocation:

        It is the misleading use of a term with more than one meaning or sense (by glossing over which meaning is intended at a particular time). It generally occurs with polysemic words (words with multiple meanings). ….

        Example:
        A feather is light.
        What is light cannot be dark.
        Therefore, a feather cannot be dark.

        Specifically, in the “purity test” put to Benson – i.e., “do you believe trans women are women, yes or no?” – it sure looks like many people are trying to insist that a gender – i.e. “transwomen” (denoted by the compounded word) – is equivalent to a sex – i.e., “women”. Now while it might be a stretch to call that an “erasure” of the latter, it sure looks to be like it’s a rather arrogant if not anti-intellectual and anti-scientific or delusional attempt to impose a rather idiosyncratic, inconsistent, and unevidenced definition on everyone else. Which y’all shouldn’t be surprised to find many raising some quite reasonable objections to.

        1. But you still haven’t provided anything in the way of specific characteristics

          1) identifies as a woman is a specific characteristic. A very specific one, in fact.
          2) The idea is to make categories less restrictive so obviously there’s going to be fewer demands made.
          3) If we are to list characteristics for ‘woman’ than we’d first have to admit relatively few women are actually women. For example, one who can’t reproduce or ovulate is not a woman. Those who’ve had a hysterectomy are not women. Those born with XXX or XO genotypes are not women. If this is not what you’re arguing for than you’re just special pleading.

          1. Julian:

            1) identifies as a woman is a specific characteristic. A very specific one, in fact.

            Sorry, not at all true, not even wrong. “woman” is the term, the word or label, to be defined. It can’t also stand for the definition itself which generally lists the attributes associated with the item or class being defined. Consider the definition for the lowly and prosaic electron:

            e•lec•tron, (ĭ-lĕk′trŏn′), n. Abbr. e

            A stable elementary particle in the lepton class having a negative electric charge of 1 elementary unit (about 1.602 × 10-19 coulombs) and a mass of about 9.11 × 10-28 grams.

            “electron” is the word to be defined whereas the charge and mass are objectively quantifiable attributes of each member of that class (leptons). You see anything there where it says an electron is an electron (is an electron)?

            But maybe you too would care to take a stab at providing a specific set of attributes to define that elusive creature known as “woman”, elusive at least in this rather benighted neck of the woods as I have yet to find a person here willing or able to make an honest attempt of it.

            3) If we are to list characteristics for ‘woman’ than we’d first have to admit relatively few women are actually women.

            According to the 2010 demographics for the US (Wikipedia) there were some 90-100 million “women” – i.e., humans of child-bearing age (15-50, I would guess) and likely to be capable of producing ova and/or bearing the young. You think that is “relatively few”?

            For example, one who can’t reproduce or ovulate is not a woman. Those who’ve had a hysterectomy are not women.

            Technically that would be true by the definitions I’ve quoted earlier. However, I think far too many people make far too much out of what are ultimately limited sets of attributes and capabilities that hardly constitute or define an entire person. You might consider it analogous to the ability to run, say, the 5-minute mile: some people might be able to do that at 25 but be incapable of that at 75, and some people might never be capable of it. But that shouldn’t change a person’s civil rights or the respect for their “personhood”.

  22. AMM
    25

    Totally OT, but:

    Many thanks for including a transcript. It makes me feel included, and I presume that does double for those for whom viewing videos is not just difficult but actually impossible.

    As far as I can see, this is the only FTB blog that consistently does so.
    (I’ve occasionally posted a request for transcripts or links thereto or even summaries on other FTB blogs that frequently post videos w/o further explanation, but not seen any reaction.)

    By contrast, EverydayFeminism.com does so not only for videos, but for comics, as does skepchick.com . I wonder if this is a feminist thing?

    1. 25.1

      It’s a side effect of intersectionality. Feminists are more likely to be conscious of ableism and work against it than non-feminists.

      To defend the other bloggers a bit, IIRC there’s a site-wide plugin that warns them if they post photos without captioning them. Either it doesn’t work with videos, or most other bloggers don’t have the time/energy to do their own transcripts.

    2. 25.2

      Agreeing with Hj on the intersectionality thing. Because some people are unable to watch videos due to sensory issues, it’s a consideration of those with disabilities to include a transcript. I’ve heard some people say it’s ableist to post videos without captions or transcriptions, which I kind of take issue with because (as someone with a couple mental illnesses) it’s extremely taxing to transcribe videos.

      This one was easy for me to provide a transcription for because I scripted it out beforehand and just had to make minor adjustments for the way things actually come out of my mouth when I say them. Zinnia usually scripts her videos, too, so providing the transcription is pretty easy.

      The reason I don’t post more videos here is that I feel it’s wrong to put just a video on a *blog* without accompanying text and I don’t always script my videos beforehand. Uploading a video without a transcript is one thing, because video is the primary means of communication on YouTube, but just slapping a video in a blog post seems lazy (for me) and makes me feel like I’m contributing to ableism.

  23. 26

    I’d also like to echo AMM wrt transcription.

    Looking at the storify Ophelia seems to being will fully ignorant. Either that or she’s fooled us into thinking she’s smarter than she is (comparing black lives matter to using term language).

    I’m still confused as to what motivates TERFy behaviour like this- especially the re-branding of trans-inclusivity as ‘mysogynistic’ (according to pee zee’s fielding of complaints about this post).

    It seems to me that even recognizing the existence of trans people is perceived to undermine women- when in reality- many people probably wouldn’t recognise the difference between ‘pregnant people’ and ‘pregnant women’, given how marginalised and erased trans people are.

  24. 27

    @22 Steersman

    You’re continuing to make biological essentialist and dictionary-definition arguments requiring that we have biological defintions for woman: “produces ova/sperm”.

    You are being willfully ignorant of the fact that gender and sex are separate social constructs and further comments of this type will be deleted. I’m not interested in engaging you further than I already have on this subject.

    “Woman” is a socially constructed concept, separate from biological sex, as indicated in several comments in response to your original comment. If you don’t get that, you need to spend some time with Google and not spend time demanding that we provide biological essentialist definitions of what it means to be a woman. This is a derailment of the topic at hand and I won’t stand for it.

    1. 27.1

      <off-topic>

      Bit of a heads-up, Lux; Steersman is a well-known bigot who’s made a career out of longwinded self-contradictory screeds. He started following me around after I did a lecture on sex and gender, and seems to be especially obsessed over the topic. I eventually decided to give him enough leash to hang himself, and the result was a four-month long exchange. I learned from the experience he can’t even remember his own arguments, and is unable to do anything more than ineptly invoke the Balance Fallacy over and over (start counting the number of times he says “I’m willing to concede” or something similar, it’s rather depressing how locked in he is).

      On the plus side, if you keep him around long enough, the more likely he is to whip out a diagram. Trust me, they’re pretty hilarious! 😀

      </off-topic>

      1. HJ Hornbeck (#25.1):

        Steersman is a well-known bigot who’s made a career out of longwinded self-contradictory screeds.

        And you’re a fucking intellectually dishonest idiot HJ. And your accusation of “bigot” still looks to be based on nothing more than my unwillingness to subscribe to the dogmatic article of faith that “trans women are women” – an unwillingness shared by many people, including no few transwomen.

        As for “self-contradictory”, one might suggest that that is more in the eye of the beholder, that you are the one with the “self-contradictory” premises that you rather clearly refuse to address. Why else would you have deleted several of my comments at Sinmantyx after getting bested in an argument? Apparently you never did follow up on my suggestion that you test your “models all the way down” “theory” [ha!] by jumping out of a 12th story window.

        1. Why else would you have deleted several of my comments at Sinmantyx after getting bested in an argument?

          Called it!!

          Who the hell are you fooling, Steersman? In the middle of an argument about racism you suddenly get the urge to discuss rape culture. Rather than comment on the lightly moderated post that defines “rape culture” and lays out two ways to falsify the concept, however, you comment on this heavily moderated post where I explicitly say I will not be discussing rape culture. You must have known about the other blog post, as you admit to getting notifications about each new topic as its posted.

          This is a pretty blatant attempt to get banned. At minimum this would absolve you of an argument about racism you must realize you’re losing, and as an added bonus you could claim it was the thin-skinned feminist who couldn’t take a little argument rather than the feeble bigot hate-stalking blogs.

          Oh gawd, are you locked into your loop! Over time, your poor memory has warped “I got banned because I didn’t follow the rules” to “I got banned because the thin-skinned feminist couldn’t take my arguments,” precisely as I predicted. Tell ya what, Steersman: point me to the argument you thought you won. If you legitimately won, you’ve done a service to us all.

          If you haven’t, we’ll all enjoy laughing at the delusional bigot. 😀

          As for “self-contradictory”, one might suggest that that is more in the eye of the beholder

          Yeah-huh.

          Well, I’ll generally agree with your thesis or argument that there’s at least some justification for using neutral phrases like “people who can get pregnant”: who else is going to need an abortion? At least for themselves.

          However, I can also sympathize with Benson’s position insofar as it denies or disputes the article of faith held by many “feminists” and trans-activists that “trans women are women”.

          ===

          Yes, it is true that “marriage has [traditionally] been defined as …” – good point.

          However, that is a rather different kettle of fish from the definitions for male/female and, to a lesser extent, those for man/woman

          ===

          Technically that would be true by the definitions I’ve quoted earlier. However, I think far too many people make far too much out of what are ultimately limited sets of attributes and capabilities that hardly constitute or define an entire person.

          ===

          In addition, while I might concede that “gender is an identity thing”, and that biological sex is a subset or a component of gender with gender including various other attributes of a psychological nature, I think that you and many others are engaged, by intent for questionable motives or inadvertently, in the logical fallacy of equivocation

          ===

          But I’ll agree, at least to some extent, with your “dictionaries describe current and historical functional use of a word”. However, I think that that is a bit of a whitewash as it suggests there isn’t any ongoing functional utility to some of them, and that their meanings can be changed rather arbitrarily.

          ===

          Though I will agree with your implicit suggestion that it is “inappropriate” and unjustified to insist, particularly without evidence, that “biological characteristics other than genitals” necessarily and uniquely correlates with a particular sex. However, it should also be reasonable, and of some value, to consider that such characteristics might well be more frequent in one population than in another – for instance, on average, men are taller than women, but some women are taller than many men (“[tallness], it’s more of a guy thing”).

          ===

          While I’ll readily agree that you’re entitled to “a space where [you] can be [yourselves]”, I think it rather arrogant to expect that the terms you use to describes yourselves, your identities, in your safe spaces are also ones that everyone else has to agree to as well – particularly when it is rather clear those terms are not at all applicable based on the commonly held definitions.

          Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto. Yet again, you’re just playing the Argument to Moderation over and over and over and over and over again. You even admit this:

          Sure seems to me that the two “camps” are more or less analogous to the Eastern and Western halves of the Catholic Church which were divided by the Filioque controversy for some time: each dogmatically holding to a different and antithetical article of faith, and neither showing any willingness to actually consider any ways off the horns of the dilemma.

          Yes, how dogmatic of us to refuse to consider anything other than “trans* women are women” and “trans* women are not women!” If only we possessed your intellectual flexibility. Seriously though, you’re even escalating your language against Brony the same way you did to me, many months ago. You’re locked into your loop so hard it’s becoming pathetic again.

  25. 28

    Silentbob

    I don’t explain the reasons for inclusive language to Ophelia Benson because she knows them already. She’s said so. She said so to Torres. You think she hasn’t read this post and Melby’s storify and the various other posts on FtB about her altercation with Torres? You think nobody on Twitter took issue with her? You think she doesn’t understand non-women get pregnant? It’s not the case she misunderstands the arguments. She doesn’t agree with them.

    In which case she should just fucking own it.
    Yes she thinks some cis women’s comfort* to be more important than trans men’s and non-binary people’s inclusion and access to reproductive healthcare.
    Yes she thinks that harassing an actual abortion provider over her choice of inclusive language is more important than supporting an abortion provider in her fight for abortion access for all people who might need it.
    But man, that sounds bad, right? Kind of bigoted and pretty trans exclusionary, right?

    *This is important. We’re not talking about fertile cis women’s actual access to reproductive healthcare. Nor are all the players in this people with actual need for reproductive healthcare.

    1. 28.1

      @ 26 Giliell

      Look, the last thing I want to do is derail this thread into The Trial of Ophelia Benson, Season Two, Episode 37, but she does fucking own it. She hasn’t changed her mind about framing misogyny as misogyny (aka an attack on women), but she doesn’t deny picking on Torres was an asshole move.

      I have to confess, when you say, “We’re not talking about fertile cis women’s actual access to reproductive healthcare”, you’ve completely lost me. What? The political fight for the right of people to decide whether they want to be pregnant or not has nothing to do with access to reproductive healthcare? :-/

      1. Silentbob:

        Look, the last thing I want to do is derail this thread into The Trial of Ophelia Benson, Season Two, Episode 37 ….

        Or maybe The Ox-Bow Incident? But while it might be somewhat impolite in either case, one might suggest that this is a more or less ideal opportunity to consider the crux of the matter, the bone of contention, the elephant in the living room, that has precipitated this donnybrook, this “Benson debacle”, as failing to do so will only cause the issue to fester and become increasingly toxic. Particularly since Lux Pickel has more or less reprised and delineated that crux, that bone, that elephant, in this post with their “trans women … [are] still women” – which was, of course, the essential element in the “purity test” which Benson was subjected to.

        Sure seems to me that the two “camps” are more or less analogous to the Eastern and Western halves of the Catholic Church which were divided by the Filioque controversy for some time: each dogmatically holding to a different and antithetical article of faith, and neither showing any willingness to actually consider any ways off the horns of the dilemma. No wonder “feminism” gets such a bad press.

      2. Using inclusive language is NOT working against fertile cis women’s access to abortion. It is in no way, shape or form detrimental to that fight. On the contrary, it broadens it. Nobody’s saying “stop fighting abortion restrictions because of the men”. That’s what my point about this NOT being about actual access to abortion refers to.

        She hasn’t changed her mind about framing misogyny as misogyny (aka an attack on women)

        Show me where somebody claimed it wasn’t an attack on women*. Recognising that this doesn’t actually affect a large part of women AND also affects people who are not women doesn’t take away from that.
        Again, I don’t have to accept the framing of the issue used by the opposition.
        *#notallwomen. Really, just like when we’re saying “men” it doesn’t mean “all men” or “only men”

        1. @ Giliell

          Show me where somebody claimed it wasn’t an attack on women. Recognising that this doesn’t actually affect a large part of women AND also affects people who are not women doesn’t take away from that.

          *sigh* With all respect you’re tilting at windmills. I never said anyone said this wasn’t an attack on women*. I said, beginning @5 — where I was vainly trying to knock a clue into the noggin of an addle-brained numpty — that the reason some people want to use gendered language when discussing abortion is because of the underlying misogynistic intent of the anti-choice movement.

          Before you jump down my throat for defending gendered language, I’ve also said, more than once, that I don’t think that’s a good excuse for making out like trans and non-binary people don’t exist, and aren’t affected too. I give a big thumbs-up to the use of “pregnant people”. Do I need to frame that and hang it on the wall?

          If we agree on two things:

          1. The anti-choice movement is misogynistic in character

          2. That doesn’t excuse the erasure of trans and non-binary people who are also affected

          … then what the fuck is there left to argue about? The rest is trivia.

          * I’ve heard some people (not I) have interpreted the following sentence from the OP that way:

          I absolutely have to denounce the idea that this is a war on women’s rights.

  26. 29

    @Steersman, various comments:

    First of all, whenever cis people come in to this conversation with their fuck mothering dictionary, my eyebrows raise so high they fly off my fucking head. Maybe it’s because you’re doing this online and you forget that the subject of gender variance has been applied to people. Stop me if I’m going too fast here. I am not a dictionary. I strongly suggest you put it right the fuck down, and start talking to me, a trans person, and trans people generally. Because we’re not talking about the abstract usefulness of taxation or a coefficient of gravity or the properties of an electron, we’re talking about a phenomenon that has shaped my life–every trans life–in a very important way. So you’re pontificating with your “ahhs” and “mmyes” from behind a textbook (the wrong one, I might add), while people in my demographic are plotting their next suicide attempt.

    So, your gender variance homework is to look up John Money’s material on David Reimar and explain how his experiment doesn’t suggest the possibility of an identity that compels the body housing it to change.

    If you want to seriously engage on this topic, I suggest you try a tactic that isn’t an Argument by Definition. Because, look, I can do it too: Steersman is, by my definition, an asshole; this chicken has an asshole; therefore Steersman is this chicken. Science!

    @Lady Mondegreen:

    but I don’t look for stellar reasoning from someone whose idea of argument is telling their opponent to shut the fuck up.

    Benson is similarly unkind to opponents of her various causes, somehow I doubt her rude language casts a similar doubt on the arguments she makes for her fans. My argument, if you could be arsed to actually read my comment, was demonstrated by comparing two of Silentbob’s hypocritical comments side-by-side.

    In short: Here’s a glass for you too. I’ve got a whole pitcher ready, ice and all.

      1. I know, right?

        He shows up, vomits out the same damned prejudice laden shtick he’s “shared” in so many other spaces and people still engage with him in earnest, but unfortunately this is really about him loving the sound of his own voice rather than actually listening to people who directly experience the lives he thinks are lived in error. People get pissed of with his stubborn prejudice and ‘splaining, and then he pulls the, “But obviously, I’m the one with the largest, most impressive intellectual, rational goodness. You people are inferior posers.” He gets banned, then moves on to dump his bigoted philosophical effluent on another group of people. If that group is predominantly on the low end of the social totem pole, ‘splaining becomes even more rewarding for him.

        He should be permanently circling the confines of moderation queues everywhere with the rest of the text based flotsam.

        1. timberwraith (#29.2):

          He shows up, vomits out the same damned prejudice laden shtick he’s “shared” in so many other spaces ….

          “You keep using those words [prejudice, transphobic]. I do not think they mean what you think they do.” Just because “trans women are women” is an article of faith with you, and with too many others, doesn’t mean that everyone else has to subscribe to that dogma, or that they are prejudiced or transphobic for rejecting it.

      2. Giliell (#29.1):

        Personally I’m surprised that Steersman has still found a blog* he’s allowed to comment on…

        You might consider the possibility that that has less to do with what I say, and more to do with many blogs being little better than Internet Silos and echo chambers.

          1. Always a possibility. But I did say “many blogs”. And it should be noted I have been commenting on several other FT blogs including Carrier’s, Fogg’s, Miller’s and several others, although not all that recently – all without having been declared persona non grata. As I said or suggested, maybe they’re a little less dogmatic about their positions, more willing to actually allow discussion, a little less like echo chambers.

  27. 32

    Why am I’m not surprised to find that Steersman, ubiquitous transphobic troll extraordinaire, can also be found on Breitbart agreeing with Trump and his xenophobic suggestion of shutting down entry to the US to all Muslims.

    Remind me to add the dictionary defines right up there with I vote Republican because on my “List of Indicators That What You’re About to Say is Asinine”

    1. 32.1

      Remind me to add the dictionary defines right up there with ….

      If that’s the case then the following from a review – by some “feminist critics” – of Professing Feminism by Daphne Patai and Noretta Koertge would seem to fit you, and many other “feminists” to a tee:

      The authors wrote of the isolationist attitude that dominates many of the [Women Studies] programs, along with a virulent anti-science, anti-intellectual sentiment driving many of the professors, staff and students.

  28. 33

    Re: Dictionary arguments and references.
    These are very nearly pointless in situations like this where communities are literally trying to understand what the meaning and/or usefulness of a word is to them. The only real valid starting place is the meaning of the word to the individuals that it relates to. From there the dictionary definition is useful as a reference only and ALWAYS dispensable. So any two or more people who may be using a word in different ways due to differences in personal meaning need to be able to define the meaning and use between them first by referring to the associated concepts that are actually used at that point in time (there are always uses and meanings present that are not in dictionaries).
    It’s those associated concepts that are the important part because in the end a word is only a symbol, a representation of something or someone else and never perfectly captures it. They are lines on a screen.

    This is also necessary because dictionaries do one thing that people arguing from a dictionary definition nearly always neglect, dictionaries describe current and historical functional use of a word. Language always evolves based on usefulness. As the meaning and use of a word change the definitions in the dictionary change. The dictionary is beholden to people and not the other way around*.

    It is simply a fact that as we learn more about the world the definitions we have for some words we use now will become less useful. Some will be expanded to include more, some will be limited in how they are applied, some will be discarded and other things. Sometimes we just need new words. I cannot and would not say what will happen to the word “woman”, that is not for me to decide because it does not apply to me. But I pay close attention to the discussions and arguments of the people for whom the word is personally relevant. You are the ones that will tell me what it means.

    *An excellent book that brings life to just what dictionaries are and what they do is Defining the World: The Extraordinary Story of Dr Johnson’s Dictionary by Henry Hitchings. Dr. Johnson is in fact my biological role-model as a historical figure with Tourette’s Syndrome and they revolutionized and defined what a dictionary should be over nine years with two assistants, when similar contemporary efforts took 40 people 40 years. Without their example I would not know how to harness my inherent enhancements and advantages in rule-based language processes. A person arguing from the dictionary definition is little better than a religious person spouting verses to me. If they can not make their symbol personally relevant and meaningful they are useless to me and I will discard what they offer.

    1. 33.1

      Brony (#31):

      Re: Dictionary arguments and references.

      These are very nearly pointless in situations like this where communities are literally trying to understand what the meaning and/or usefulness of a word is to them. ….

      Well, first off, thanks for the recommendation of that book about Dr. Johnson – looks to be an interesting read, and a useful perspective.

      However, your “nearly pointless”, “only real valid starting place”, “arguing from the dictionary definition”, and some other similar statements look rather arrogant to begin with, and more like some dogmatic ipse dixits and papal encyclicals than credible and evidenced argument. For instance, while it’s all well and good that some communities might well feel justified in “trying to understand” how a word is useful to them, one might suggest they consider that they’re a rather smallish percentage of the population – about 2% apparently, and that the words they’re trying to redefine already have substantial value – as currently defined, thank you very much – to communities substantially larger than they are. Y’all might consider that words and definitions are kind of like the rules of the road: for instance, while it is sort of arbitrary which side is the “right one” to drive on, it is rather important that we all subscribe to the agreed-upon rule – at least if we don’t want our highways to degenerate into chaos. Likewise with our languages.

      But I’ll agree, at least to some extent, with your “dictionaries describe current and historical functional use of a word”. However, I think that that is a bit of a whitewash as it suggests there isn’t any ongoing functional utility to some of them, and that their meanings can be changed rather arbitrarily. For instance, you might consider, and closely, these passages from the Wikipedia article on taxonomy:

      Taxonomy (from Ancient Greek: τάξις taxis, “arrangement,” and -νομία -nomia, “method”[1]) is the science of defining groups of biological organisms on the basis of shared characteristics and giving names to those groups. Organisms are grouped together into taxa (singular: taxon) and given a taxonomic rank; groups of a given rank can be aggregated to form a super group of higher rank and thus create a taxonomic hierarchy.

      Now while it might be moot just how much relevance a fairly new science (1700 or so) has to definitions in an unrelated field, you might also note this later passage:

      Taxonomy has been called “the world’s oldest profession”, [prostitutes might be somewhat nonplussed by that assertion] and naming and classifying our surroundings has likely been taking place as long as mankind has been able to communicate. It would always have been important to know the names of poisonous and edible plants and animals in order to communicate this information to other members of the family or group.

      In which case it should be obvious that “males” and “females” – i.e., those who produce either sperm or ova – are both quite real groups, defined “on the basis of shared characteristics”, that are rather large comprising, in total, some 98% of the human population, at least potentially. And it should be equally obvious that those groups have some significant value and relevance to the survival of the species – all of which is not much impacted or influenced by the “feelings” of those in the other 2% as to the “usefulness to them” of the words used to describe such groups. Or much impacted by any attempts to redefine them – unless maybe you think that simply redefining “hill” to mean “flood plain” is going to level out one of the former.

      As for your second comment, that will have to wait until tomorrow.

  29. 34

    @ Steersman 21

    While I do sympathize with the plight of those who feel they are of a different sex than the one assigned at birth and/or that is consistent with those type of biological definitions (as is the case with Jenner)…

    I simply do not believe you. But I’ll give you the chance to prove it.

    I would really like to see the people here discuss what is important to them and I really don’t want to see your bullshit games. So I have an idea to make your contribution constructive by having you put your money where your mouth is. I want to see you prove that you have actually seriously considered what trans women, trans men and cis women have to say about their experiences.
    When you say,

    …largely subjective and idiosyncratic stereotypes…

    …I want you to actually describe what the people you are referring to. Link examples and give a brief summary of the content. I know for a fact that you can put up a lot of text as I can so I don’t think this is an unreasonable request since you just dismissed what they experience as random and meaningless as if you have actually seen it. I’ll give you the male/masculine example that I posted over at Pharyngula so you know at what level you must be able to address this if you want to be seen as a known hostile outsider actually respecting the experiences of people here instead of fanning the flames of social conflict for your own ends (I did not put it here because I did not want to fill this place up with the literal opposite of what they are trying to discuss, if you cannot read it let me know).

    I know for a fact that you know that these issues are about more than a dictionary tying a word to female anatomy. I know for a fact that feminists and more have been telling you for years about the social stereotypes, the social pressure to be and do specific things, the social actions that serve to keep women “in their place” and exclude them or minimize them in some way. Those things that they talk about at the level of social information has biological consequences and the biological consequences of social information just happens to be my personal specialty on a human level.

    If society says that women should be and do certain things that will leave an impression on the minds of people with the social software for those things, who happen to have different anatomy. Prove you have the empathy and maturity for such a conversation. When I listen to what trans people say I pay very close attention to how and why they feel the way you do and I frankly don’t believe you have ever really done it or can do it here. So I want to see you post real, solid examples of the people here are experiencing so that they can approve your ability.

    As for the dictionary BS, I made a post about. It’s in moderation so if this one gets through I know it was because of the links and it may be along shortly if Lux Pickel thinks it is appropriate.

        1. Had to browse through the spam filter for a few minutes to find your comment, but I did find it. My bad! I was absent from this thread for a few days because it’s become somewhat exhausting.

    1. 36.2

      After you Alphonse.

      And to paraphrase somewhat the cogent and pithy comment by Lady Mondegreen (above), “I don’t look for stellar reasoning from someone whose idea of argument is telling their opponent to [fuck off]”.

  30. 37

    @Steersman
    I don’t care what you find arrogant, if you are not going to care about the feelings that others use as data to sort themselves into groups I’m not going to give a shit about what you feel about my words. Clearly you were bothering people when you showed up here and you made no effort to find a way of expressing yourself such that it avoided what bothered them so you can learn to live with my words while you pick the substance from the parts you find distasteful.

    I don’t care if they are 2% of the population. What they are doing is due to a society that has chosen to mix a lot of crap up with what it is to be biologically male and female. They are deciding what to do with the mess attached to “woman” among themselves. I refuse to cooperate with a culture that implicitly hides the existence of some of its members and give no fucks about its feelings on that matter and being nice is not always effective or appropriate. I respect reality and I want it taken into account. If the rules don’t cover everyone fairly fuck the rules.

    Fuck your use of taxonomy until you can justify its importance. No one is talking about ignoring male and female here, people are talking about how woman gets applied due to biological characteristics other than genitals and using terms that cover all humans capable of becoming pregnant. The functional use of female and woman are different and that matters. As far as I am concerned if you can’t add to your taxonomy a decent objective characterization of how trans people sort themselves based on how they feel about their relationship with themselves and society no one has any obligation to take your concern seriously. They clearly are a group with actual characteristics that is relevant

    1. 37.1

      Brony (#35):

      … if you are not going to care about the feelings that others use as data to sort themselves into groups ….

      That right there – i.e., using feelings as data – is, maybe arguably, where you and many others go off the rails and into the weeds as “feelings” are largely subjective and not particularly quantifiable – kind of a weak reed to be putting much faith in.

      But, frankly (Scarlett), I don’t give much of a damn how “they” “sort themselves into groups”. However, if “they” insist on labeling themselves with a term that is not at all consistent with its conventional use, a use shared or subscribed to by some 98% of the population, then I and many others have some justification for suggesting that they are, at best, ridiculous if not seriously deluded for doing so. Wouldn’t you find it risible in the extreme if, for example, The Flat Earth Society relabeled themselves, without any changes to their philosophies or behaviours, as The Bay Area Skeptics?

      I don’t care if they are 2% of the population. What they are doing is due to a society that has chosen to mix a lot of crap up with what it is to be biologically male and female. They are deciding what to do with the mess attached to “woman” among themselves.

      No doubt there is “a lot of crap” mixed in with “biologically male and female”. But that “crap” is not at all what defines “man” and “woman”, at least as the two latter terms are conventionally defined, i.e., “male human” and “female human”. A point which I’m happy to see that John Morales, in the Pharyngula thread you linked to (#59), more or less agrees with.

      But it seems to me, more or less responding to and agreeing with portions of your comment on Pharyngula (#57), that there is very little in the way “characteristics and roles” (attributes & capabilities) that uniquely correlates with either “male” or “female”, i.e., is only found associated with those primary, defining, attributes related to gamete production. Consequently, I think, as I’ve said repeatedly – here and elsewhere, that y’all are seriously barking up the wrong freaking tree – as some of the “terminally clueless” apparently insist on doing – if you try to define “woman” as anything other than “female human”, if you try to base the definition on any stereotypes that may only be true of a narrow segment of the female population, and which may also be true of a not insignificant portion of the male population.

      Fuck your use of taxonomy until you can justify its importance. No one is talking about ignoring male and female here, people are talking about how woman gets applied due to biological characteristics other than genitals and using terms that cover all humans capable of becoming pregnant.

      Somewhat in passing, while you might be right that no one is “talking about ignoring male and female here”, I might point out that Zinnia, in one of their videos, rather bravely if not foolhardily insisted that “trans women are female”. But apparently you can’t read as that article on taxonomy clearly pointed to any number of reasons why we classify “people, places, and things – and ideas”, including biological sexes and their manifestations in individual species, i.e., “man”, and “woman”. Though I will agree with your implicit suggestion that it is “inappropriate” and unjustified to insist, particularly without evidence, that “biological characteristics other than genitals” necessarily and uniquely correlates with a particular sex. However, it should also be reasonable, and of some value, to consider that such characteristics might well be more frequent in one population than in another – for instance, on average, men are taller than women, but some women are taller than many men (“[tallness], it’s more of a guy thing”). But I think many people are unclear on that concept, and on the difficulties in comparing individuals and populations.

      The functional use of female and woman are different and that matters.

      Looks kind of like another ipse dixit to me – and trying to define “woman” based on stereotypes, which you apparently reject. Or don’t you? Rather muddled thinking by the look of it. Seems to me that the only difference in “functional use” between the two terms is that the first applies to (at least) most (all?) mammals whereas the second applies only to humans, i.e., is “a female human”.

      As far as I am concerned if you can’t add to your taxonomy a decent objective characterization of how trans people sort themselves based on how they feel about their relationship with themselves and society no one has any obligation to take your concern seriously. They clearly are a group with actual characteristics that is relevant.

      More muddled thinking there: “objective characterization” tends to be precluded by “how they feel about their relationship …” as that is intrinsically subjective – by definition. But which “actual [objective] characteristics” do you have in mind? I have been trying, for a long time and rather unsuccessfully, to get someone, anyone, with enough courage and intellectual honesty to answer that question, at least as those characteristics might help define their concept of “woman”.

  31. 38

    @Steersman
    This is truly pathetic.

    That right there – i.e., using feelings as data – is, maybe arguably, where you and many others go off the rails and into the weeds as “feelings” are largely subjective and not particularly quantifiable – kind of a weak reed to be putting much faith in.

    Fucking seriously? This bullshit seriously needs to be changed at a group level. A cursory skim of pubmed shows that feelings, emotions, sensations and other things can indeed show us what kinds of people exist (both defined as normal and non, harmful and non, and average and diverse exceptions, it’s your argument to place people in this area). The kind of thought lurking in this part is utterly inappropriate here, it’s only in samples where one risks patterns that don’t exist and we are talking about millions of people saying similar things. Your mind is a mess and you are a legitimate obstacle to the advancement of our species.

    The problem is not feelings, it’s the patterns described that involve feelings. Feeling, emotion IS data. It’s information. Emotions are part of the reasoning, a targeting system for logic and a filing and retrieval system when it comes to cognition. The feelings ARE independent of what they are connected to or what we think of them. Just because emotion and feeling is involved does not mean there is lack of reason or logic or that a person’s experience is dismissible. If you think that something related to feeling or emotion is a problem fucking demonstrate it . Hell, based on stereotype people with Tourette’s Syndrome should be the most irrational and illogical people and it turns out the opposite is true (google the condition and enhancements) despite the fact that we spend all of our time filled with intense emotion. I can be filled with rage or fear and still rational and logical.

    Even you just appealed to feelings because when you needed to use non-literalisms like “…off the rails…” or “…week reed…” You are yourself making a feelings based statement because you replace a description of reality with your emotional characterizations represented as non-literalisms.
    I actually have a lot of respect for emotion and feeling, even yours. What you do with it is what matters and is where I will start making judgments. I’ll take it seriously and am willing to follow it to what produces it in order to assess what is provoking it in as objective and literal a sense as possible.

    But, frankly (Scarlett), I don’t give much of a damn how “they” “sort themselves into groups”. However, if “they” insist on labeling themselves with a term that is not at all consistent with its conventional use, a use shared or subscribed to by some 98% of the population, then I and many others have some justification for suggesting that they are, at best, ridiculous if not seriously deluded for doing so. Wouldn’t you find it risible in the extreme if, for example, The Flat Earth Society relabeled themselves, without any changes to their philosophies or behaviours, as The Bay Area Skeptics?

    You truly are a transphobic piece of shit aren’t you? It’s amazing the things that fear drives a person to do with what they perceive. You implicitly ignore allies willing to accept criticism.

    Delusion? That is a very specific term and I happen to have a DSM-V in front of me. Defend that bullshit because it looks like I was right, you have no idea how trans people describe themselves so your appeal to “…subjective and idiosyncratic…” was a simple assertion dismissing millions of people, not unlike the ones that the religious have used on the LGBT+ broadly. If you want to appeal to a word like “delusion” which is utterly inconsistent with the meaning of the word as you are using it you have some explaining to do. And if you want to appeal to casual use of “delusion” that makes it even more your obligation to explain because again you would be replacing what you see with a non-literalism as emotional characterization. Grow a fucking spine and face your fear in order to accurately describe it.

    This is the cowardice of the fear-soaked majority pretending that it’s one thing or a few things as a species and I don’t give a shit about what you think “the majority” can do for multiple reasons, the most important of which is that you are here as an individual and basically asserting that everyone else is like you. “The majority” used to be against gay marriage too and I see “the majority” as a group to be interacted with one at a time, and occasionally made an example of like you. It works too because I did it just yesterday at a support group when someone wanted to tie a co-workers sex change to other behavior. They changed their tune and this is just desperate scrabbling to keep the advantages that you have from what I see so far.

    You are shielding yourself with a diverse group in order to avoid your obligations here. Grow a spine and be willing to actually address people by what they say they are if you want to have any chance of receiving such treatment in return. Because when society gets around to a greater understanding of the diversity of shapes of mind, emotion and instinct that exist I will have no pity for what reputation has fairly done to you.

    I don’t care if they are 2% of the population. What they are doing is due to a society that has chosen to mix a lot of crap up with what it is to be biologically male and female. They are deciding what to do with the mess attached to “woman” among themselves.

    No doubt there is “a lot of crap” mixed in with “biologically male and female”. But that “crap” is not at all what defines “man” and “woman”, at least as the two latter terms are conventionally defined, i.e., “male human” and “female human”. A point which I’m happy to see that John Morales, in the Pharyngula thread you linked to (#59), more or less agrees with.

    John’s arguments are his own and you need to stop making these group appeals and actually have the courage to stand on your own child. That “a lot of crap” is the point to people in this community and your robotic urge to try to redirect the conversation away from what people here are interested in is noted. You might as well just give up on that point because I refuse to stop pointing out the way you continually and predictable refuse to actually reflect what people here are concerned with, which is a basic requirement of any sort of persuasion (which is relevant in your case because YOU came HERE), I get to not give a fuck in social context terms. It’s also a basic tactic of people who are only interested in defending the status quo out of fear.

    Fuck your conventional definitions. If you have even a remote desire to actually discuss these issues seriously you must be able to look at how and why the words are used by trans people the way that they are. If not you are worthy of being banned simply because you are simply example #3454 of someone here simply disrupting a discussion because of a feeling of unease from seeing terms threatened. As a male person on the masculine end of behavior and characteristics I would be two inches from your face and making sure my spittle flecked your face while I say this if we were in public you cowardly wretch.

    Personally, while I respect it when people like trans men use the word to help understand themselves and describe what they are relative to the population at large, the word “man” is utterly useless to me. I don’t give a fuck what you think about it unless you can make me personally satisfied that it’s useful to me because that would literally be between you and me. I choose what words I find useful and how I use them. What is considered “manly” is always a placeholder for other things that people think male people should be doing and I won’t pretend otherwise. So when it comes to “woman” or “womanly” your emotional characterizations of the social situation mean even less.

    As a person with Toruette’s Syndrome if I choose to release the behavioral controls that I have accepted for my whole life I am the human race’s professional asshole in a social context and my 1% of the population would be something that the other 99% in the room would definitely pay attention to, so you better fucking start acting serious. You are of no concern to me and basically look like social prey on a rational and logical basis.

    But it seems to me, more or less responding to and agreeing with portions of your comment on Pharyngula (#57), that there is very little in the way “characteristics and roles” (attributes & capabilities) that uniquely correlates with either “male” or “female”, i.e., is only found associated with those primary, defining, attributes related to gamete production. Consequently, I think, as I’ve said repeatedly – here and elsewhere, that y’all are seriously barking up the wrong freaking tree – as some of the “terminally clueless” apparently insist on doing – if you try to define “woman” as anything other than “female human”, if you try to base the definition on any stereotypes that may only be true of a narrow segment of the female population, and which may also be true of a not insignificant portion of the male population.

    This all just makes me wonder why you are so resistant to really understanding how and why trans people describe themselves the way they do, and why you are resistant to thinking about the emotional effects of the language and symbolism that the majority chooses to use when it comes to people with instincts inconsistent the historical majority.

    The wrong tree? The end of this trail leads to an understanding of the neurobiology of sex and gender with respect to social context you blind fear-soaked wretch. I don’t give a fuck if it’s only a small segment of the population. If our language does not cover everyone OUR LANGUAGE IS UNACCEPTABLE! I’m personally not going to stop pointing out this shit to people and I only become an asshole with people like you. I actually have a lot of success in other contexts because the friendliness and earnestness is just as intense as what you are experiencing now (I’m in the center of Plutchick’s wheel in many contexts).

    Additionally your cowardice is farther demonstrated in that if the majority is wrongly tying things to “man” and “woman” this is not the place for you to be challenging people if that has emotional effects on people with different instinctual and emotional dispositions. You need to be out there challenging everyone else like me. It’s the only way to make “man” as useful as “male person” in this context. In this context you are effectively victim blaming which makes me respect you even less.

    Somewhat in passing, while you might be right that no one is “talking about ignoring male and female here”, I might point out that Zinnia, in one of their videos, rather bravely if not foolhardily insisted that “trans women are female”. But apparently you can’t read as that article on taxonomy clearly pointed to any number of reasons why we classify “people, places, and things – and ideas”, including biological sexes and their manifestations in individual species, i.e., “man”, and “woman”. Though I will agree with your implicit suggestion that it is “inappropriate” and unjustified to insist, particularly without evidence, that “biological characteristics other than genitals” necessarily and uniquely correlates with a particular sex. However, it should also be reasonable, and of some value, to consider that such characteristics might well be more frequent in one population than in another – for instance, on average, men are taller than women, but some women are taller than many men (“[tallness], it’s more of a guy thing”). But I think many people are unclear on that concept, and on the difficulties in comparing individuals and populations.

    =
    First, I don’t see Zinnia here and I’m not accepting shit from you without a link and a time point.

    Second this is another example of you wielding people who are not here to defend yourself from people who are here because you are a craven fear-soaked wretch. It just happens that I am comfortable with the fact that there is a diversity of people in the feminist and trans community that disagree because I understand that this is an ongoing process that I want them to be able to engage in without interference from members of the paranoid majority like you. But in this thread I do not see anyone ignoring male and female. Grow a spine child. I read your damnarticle and taxonomy is what the trans and feminist community is doing, you are just being triggered by the fact that it does not match the traditional taxonomy you are used to you equivalent to religious nutters.

    Looks kind of like another ipse dixit to me – and trying to define “woman” based on stereotypes, which you apparently reject. Or don’t you? Rather muddled thinking by the look of it. Seems to me that the only difference in “functional use” between the two terms is that the first applies to (at least) most (all?) mammals whereas the second applies only to humans, i.e., is “a female human”.

    You dense piece of crap. If you can’t tell by now that I have been defending the ability of other people to understand what “female” and “woman” means to them, and that I am referring to what woman and female people around here care about (groups I do not belong to), there is not much I can do. I have seen people use “female” and “woman” differently and I was appealing to an appropriate authority on this issue, the people who pointed out the pattern to me and who are the ones knowledgeable with respect to it. People who I want to have the freedom to explore this. Your perceptive skills are utter shit.

    As far as I am concerned if you can’t add to your taxonomy a decent objective characterization of how trans people sort themselves based on how they feel about their relationship with themselves and society no one has any obligation to take your concern seriously. They clearly are a group with actual characteristics that is relevant.

    M ore muddled thinking there: “objective characterization” tends to be precluded by “how they feel about their relationship …” as that is intrinsically subjective – by definition. But which “actual [objective] characteristics” do you have in mind? I have been trying, for a long time and rather unsuccessfully, to get someone, anyone, with enough courage and intellectual honesty to answer that question, at least as those characteristics might help define their concept of “woman”.

    “tends to”? I’m not accepting such bullshit from you as you are a subject trying to be objective and forgetting their place. IS IT HAPPENING HERE?
    Casual googling and reading and listening to some podcasts was enough to give me a good idea about how trans people describe themselves. I’m not going to hold your fucking hand and you don’t get to demand a 101 level explanation that farther derails this thread. You must show that you have the ability to describe how trans people see themselves to satisfy them that you have understood enough their experience to be able to discuss issues here without being a disruption. This is about understanding independent of disagreement that makes “…subjective and idiosyncratic…” more than your emotionally characterized opinion.

    Stop fleeing from the content of this post like a cowardly child. YOU described the people here in ways that I mentioned above and YOU have an obligation to be able to communicate that you understand how they describe themselves in a coherent manner if you are to be considered more than the disruptive influence that you have been the entire time I have seen you interact on FTB.
    Why does it matter if it’s subjective? That’s just a difficulty modifier you child (with respect to pubmed)! Like I said you ignorant piece of shit, the human race has done a lot when it comes to collecting the subjective and identifying patterns. The only difference here is that the trans community (like the atheist community) has self-collected and that many of the rest of us are paranoid of gender deviations.

    1. 38.1

      Brony (#36):

      I can be filled with rage or fear and still rational and logical.

      Your overly long, largely incoherent, and obnoxiously self-indulgent screed suggests otherwise.

      You truly are a transphobic piece of shit aren’t you?

      Chuck you Farley. You too keep using that word – “transphobic” – apparently with no clue what it means. That I, or anyone else, doesn’t subscribe to the trans-activist article of faith that “trans women are women” hardly qualifies. Unless maybe you think, analogously, that you’re islamophobic for not believing that “the Quran was verbally revealed by God to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel”.

      Delusion? …. Defend that bullshit because it looks like I was right, you have no idea how trans people describe themselves so your appeal to “…subjective and idiosyncratic …”

      I did say “deluded”, not “delusion” – and in the sense, as defined by Cambridge Dictionaries Online, of “believing things that are not real or true”. Do show me how Jenner actually qualifies as a woman – i.e., “a female human” – as currently defined in most dictionaries and encyclopaedias. All “you” have is an “idiosyncratic” opinion – i.e., “characteristic peculiar to an individual or group”, and a rather smallish one at that.

      Fuck your conventional definitions. If you have even a remote desire to actually discuss these issues seriously you must be able to look at how and why the words are used by trans people the way that they are.

      And fuck your arrogant attempts to redefine words to peddle egregious dogma and propaganda. You might note that society works, more or less, because we have all sorts of conventions on what words mean, on what are “reasonable” standards of behaviour, and on methods of interpreting “reality”. As Alice said to Humpty Dumpty, “The question is whether you can make words mean so many different things” – which y’all are clearly trying to do. You may wish to reflect – apparently a real challenge for you – on the “principle of explosion: … from falsehood, anything follows” [1].

      If our language does not cover everyone OUR LANGUAGE IS UNACCEPTABLE! I’m personally not going to stop pointing out this shit to people and I only become an asshole with people like you.

      Gawd but you’re a fucking idiot. The point is that “woman” is already defined as “a female human” – if you want to have language that “covers” the other 2% then you need to come up with different terms – like “transwomen” (a compound word) as many transpeople are apparently prepared to do [2].

      As for “asshole”, a self-assessment I’ll readily agree with, you may wish to reflect also on this bit of wisdom from Pascal: “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.”

      First, I don’t see Zinnia here and I’m not accepting shit from you without a link and a time point.

      Maybe you didn’t notice that this is – mirabile dictu – her blog? But here it is, in living colour [3].

      It just happens that I am comfortable with the fact that there is a diversity of people in the feminist and trans community that disagree because I understand that this is an ongoing process that I want them to be able to engage in without interference from members of the paranoid majority like you.

      Well bully for you that you’re “comfortable”. Though I wonder how comfortable you would be with the fact that a rather large percentage of that “trans community” actually subscribes to pretty much the same perspective as held by that supposedly “paranoid majority”. For instance, this passage from a Slate article [4] by Michele Goldberg describing the views of a prospective transwoman Helen Highwater:

      Though “trans women are women” has become a trans rights rallying cry, Highwater writes, it primes trans women for failure, disappointment, and cognitive dissonance. She calls it a “vicious lie.” “It’s a lie that sets us up to be triggered every time we are called he, or ‘guys’ or somebody dares to suggest that we have male biology,” she writes.

      A perspective or philosophy apparently shared by at least “20 gender-critical trans bloggers” and gawd knows how many transpeople who aren’t bloggers. Are you, in your vast wisdom and cogent analysis, going to deny their “lived experiences”? While I might dispute “male biology” – I rather doubt transitioned transwomen can actually “produce sperm”, the definition for “male” – and I question the reliance of people like Greer and Bindel on what are little more than stereotypes to define “woman”, I think that that “heresy”, that clear and credible difference of opinion, suggests that the only way off the horns of that particular dilemma is to fall back on the biological definition for “woman”, i.e., “a female [produces ova, bears young] human”. Everything else is, or should be construed as, so much ginger-bread, so much window-dressing.
      ——
      1) “_https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_explosion”;
      2) “_http://aoifeschatology.com/2015/06/24/on-living-and-surviving-as-a-controversial-construction-full-text/#more-4864”;
      3) “_https://web.archive.org/web/20151101065024/http://genderanalysis.net/2015/06/stop-calling-trans-women-male-gender-analysis-07/”;
      4) “_http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2015/12/gender_critical_trans_women_the_apostates_of_the_trans_rights_movement.single.html”;

  32. 39

    @Steersman in general

    This entire thread has been thrown off by your comments. (Frankly I haven’t been able to read and process a lot of the recent comments because they’re long and my ADHD brain is not being cooperative.) This was meant to be a video about how trans men and other non-binary individuals are erased from the discussion about reproductive autonomy, and you have made it entirely about the pedantic definitions of what a woman is.

    Let me make this absolutely clear for you:

    Women and men are social categories. Female and male are biological categories. For the sake of this discussion, I’m going to gloss over the argument many trans people make that trans women’s bodies are female and trans men’s bodies are male. I’ll go ahead and let it be a simple difference in language, even though many trans people reject this distinction.

    While many people who are female by definition identify themselves as women, this does not make the terms mutually inclusive, even though the dictionary defines a woman as a female adult. On an identity level, I’m not a woman. I am ALSO not a woman by definition of being female because I’ve been on testosterone for many months. I have non-functioning ova and am incapable of bearing children, which by your strict definitions means I’m sexless. So are any cis women who have non-functioning ova or are incapable of reproducing.

    I’ve learned from others that you have a tendency to do this–argue by dictionary definitions and/or by ignorance. I’ve given you the benefit of the doubt because I didn’t know about your history of doing this and I thought I might be able to educate you. You seem to be obstinate in your beliefs that simply because many people who are assigned female also identify as women means that it’s not possible that people who are not assigned female can identify as women.

    LET ME REMIND YOU THAT YOU ARE COMMENTING ON A BLOG WHICH BELONGS TO A TRANS WOMAN.

    We are not defining women by stereotypes. There are cis women who are butch but still identify as women. To be a woman or a man is to have a personality which fits with that social category. To be trans is to be fundamentally uncomfortable with identifying as the sex you were assigned. We don’t have a choice about this. Many of us don’t argue against the fact that we’re biologically assigned a sex that’s different from the one we identify with. That’s the reason we’re trans. Our personalities and identities are incongruous with the gender which is frequently assigned to our sex.

    This isn’t a fucking intellectual debate. You’re talking about human beings, and we’re the most marginalized group of human beings out there. No, I can’t pull out a dictionary definition which defines women as a social category, because all the dictionaries tie gender to sex. We’re trying to educate people and make it clear that being assigned one sex doesn’t define your personality and identity.

    Many of us wish desperately that we could just identify with our birth sex and live our lives happily that way. But something deep in our psyche’s prevents us from doing so. If you keep throwing dictionary definitions at us, you’re doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING helpful, and you’re just trying to invalidate us.

    Please, seriously, please, just stop. This is actively harmful. I’m not trying to create an echo chamber, I’m trying to create a space where I can be myself, and Zinnia can be herself, without having our identities fundamentally erased because we don’t fit the dictionary definition of what a woman or a man is supposed to be. (Not to mention that non-binary identities, such as mine, aren’t validated by any dictionary.)

    Tying gender identity to biological sex is biological essentialism. That is EXACTLY what you’re doing. Don’t dance around the issue. You’re saying that Zinnia isn’t a woman because she doesn’t have ova. You’re saying that I’m a woman because I have ova. Walls of text can be distilled to much simpler concepts if you’re willing to just straightforwardly say what you’re thinking, and I’m tired of reading walls of text.

    1. 39.1

      Lux Pickel (#37.0):

      @Steersman in general: This entire thread has been thrown off by your comments. ….

      Sorry about that Chief – seriously; certainly wasn’t my intent. However, you might consider trying to accept some “blame” for that. Specifically, you rather clearly made in your OP a highly questionable claim that everything you said afterwards depends rather heavily on. To wit:

      Trans women can’t get pregnant …. But they’re still women.

      While you are no doubt certain that that is an unassailable position, I don’t think you realize, or are willing to consider, that there are many other people, including many transwomen, who have a position that is the antithesis of yours – and one that I think has far more justification for it.

      Let me make this absolutely clear for you: Women and men are social categories. Female and male are biological categories.

      Again, that looks to be nothing more than an unevidenced article of faith, not all that different from those of religious fundamentalists. For one thing, you simply cannot, at least rationally or logically, make an assertion that something, a word for a group of individuals, is any type of a category, even “social categories”, without being willing to stipulate which attributes define those categories. Like those for “animal”, “mineral”, and “vegetable”, each of which has a relatively small number of features – “multicellular, eukaryotic organisms”, “solid and inorganic, and has a crystal structure”, “part of a plant that is consumed by humans as food” – that defines those categories and differentiates each of them from the others. While the topic of categories can get rather hairy and convoluted pretty quickly – you might take at look at this Wikipedia list of some two dozen related articles – the point is that the concept is an important one that you rather clearly want to ignore or reject or repudiate, and with not a shred of justification for it.

      You seem to be obstinate in your beliefs that simply because many people who are assigned female also identify as women means that it’s not possible that people who are not assigned female can identify as women.

      What do you mean by “identify”? Seems to me to be a rather problematic term that you haven’t defined to any adequate degree – largely Benson’s point, one of them in any case, and if I’m not mistaken. I can see an actor “identifying” as, for example, a cowboy or an astronaut. But that doesn’t actually make him one of those – he would actually have to have some of the attributes and capabilities that define those categories to qualify as such.

      We’re trying to educate people and make it clear that being assigned one sex doesn’t define your personality and identity.

      Fine. I have no particular objection to that, apart from the fact that “identity” is a rather loosey-goosey term which is decidedly “problematic”. As Francis Bacon said 400 years ago, “Therefore shoddy and inept application of words lays siege to the intellect in wondrous ways.”

      Many of us wish desperately that we could just identify with our birth sex and live our lives happily that way. But something deep in our psyche’s prevents us from doing so. If you keep throwing dictionary definitions at us … you’re just trying to invalidate us.

      I can see, from reading more than a few blogs and descriptions, that the phenomenon causes some people no shortage of grief and pain. However, I don’t think it helps in the slightest to characterize a difference of opinion, particularly when the prepondereance of facts and figures is on the other side, as a case of “trying to invalidate you”. That – and “having our identities fundamentally erased” – looks to be merely a rather disingenuous attempt to forestall any obligation to address the contrary viewpoint. While I’ll readily agree that you’re entitled to “a space where [you] can be [yourselves]”, I think it rather arrogant to expect that the terms you use to describes yourselves, your identities, in your safe spaces are also ones that everyone else has to agree to as well – particularly when it is rather clear those terms are not at all applicable based on the commonly held definitions.

      Tying gender identity to biological sex is biological essentialism.

      While I’ll admit that I’m a little fuzzy on the concept of essentialism, and won’t elaborate on it at the moment as this comment is long enough as it is, I seriously question that assertion. For one thing, I think, as mentioned, that the term “gender identity” is impossibly vague and imprecise – Facebook has 56 genders one can select, and there’s no reason the classification should stop at a million. But, more importantly, I think you’re unclear on the concept of definitions, and how and why they are created – something which I tried to rectify by linking to the article on taxonomy. You may wish to read it closely before attempting to justify that assertion of yours.

        1. That Guy (#37.2):

          Well, it is certainly rather tiring to be spoon-feeding people with basic concepts – kind of like feeding a baby who spits out the pablum, and then having to scrape it off their faces and shove it back into their mouths.

          But I think it, similarly, a rather important process – while little “lies” in themselves are maybe not particularly problematic, at least at the time they’re coined – they have a tendency to become bigger ones where the effects are substantially more so. Like Bruce Jenner, who apparently hasn’t yet had his gender reassignment surgery, getting a “Woman of the Year” award. “You” may wish to reflect on some similarities between those situations and the movie Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

  33. 40

    Steersman, since you’re so fond of the dictionary, please look up the definitions of “pompous,” “pretentious,” “arrogant,” “pseudo-intellectual,” “insufferable” and “callous.”

    1. 40.1

      Maybe. Although maybe the first 5 of those are more an eye-of-the-beholder thing – and some evidence of simple anti-intellectualism:

      How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? [Proverbs 1:22]

      As for “callous”, while I don’t particularly relish the role of telling people there isn’t any Santa, or that Jesus was, at best, more lunatic than Lord, I hardly think a “callous” and egregious disregard for the facts should be allowed to stand.

  34. 41

    Update: Steersman banned for deadnaming a trans woman. I mean, there are a lot of other reasons, but that’s the final straw.

    Edit: I apologize to everyone for letting that go on as long as it did. I appreciate everyone who tried to engage with Steersman, but this is a person whose mind is apparently set against the trans struggle of untying gender from sex. They won’t be bothering us any more.

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