TERFs, gender, sex, etc.

Schroedingers CatSchroedingers Cat Shipmate, Waving not Drowning Host
OK, I really want to get my head around some of these areas, and I want a safe place to get information.

This has sort of come from the JKR furore, but I also realise that I don;t always know what some people mean or what the "right" answers are.

Note, I would like to be able to express how I see things, without being dragged over the coals - I genuinely want to understand.

So, as I see it:

There are two main genetic sexual definitions - XX and XY - with a few other oddities (extra chromosomes).

There are two "observed genders" - I think that is right. This is based on external genitalia, and based on what is seen at birth.

But I also understand that gender and sexual definition are far wider than this - there are many many sexual definitions. Some people do not match their observed gender.

Or have I got it wrong? And what does a TERF actually mean?

There is also the challenging question of Gender Identity? Identarians? People "identifying" as a different gender for abuse purposes.

Argh!!!! Please can people help me out, not least because I think some clarity - from all sorts of people - will help others.

I don't believe this is Equine related - I don't wish to discuss so much whether this is acceptable. I want to understand what the questions and definitions are. So that I can engage in conversation and have half a clue. Thank you.
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Comments

  • TERF = Trans-Exclusionary-Radical-Feminist

    I think it is an accusation rather than a self-identification but I could be wrong. I think some people who query trans identity call themselves gender-critical.
  • <admin mode>

    This may not be Equine related, but that's irrelevant anyway since our Dead Horses forum is now itself defunct.

    It is however most definitely Epiphanies territory, because the subject matter discussed inevitably raises issues that are very closely associated to individuals' identities and as such highly sensitive.

    Epiphanies is designed as a place where such discussions can happen (and "discussion" by definition allows room for disagreement). I'm moving this thread there to facilitate that.

    Posters are advised to read the Epiphanies Guidelines carefully and engage brains (and hearts) before posting. Thank you.

    </admin mode>
  • A lot of the gender critical arguments consist of saying that sex is our primary identity, and is biological. A lot of gender nonconforming people argue that gender identity is important. It also strikes me that the first is an external view, (you have a penis, therefore you are male), and the second is experiential, hence I feel male or female or neither. The first view is also binary, the second accepts the non-binary.

    But it's a complex and confusing field, full of heated passions and prejudices. Thus gender critical people tend to assert that trans women are men; gender radicals/liberals that they are women. From there flows a mass of legal and cultural issues, e.g., sport, toilets, education, changing rooms, medical treatment, etc.
  • Schroedingers CatSchroedingers Cat Shipmate, Waving not Drowning Host
    edited December 2019
    TERF = Trans-Exclusionary-Radical-Feminist

    I think it is an accusation rather than a self-identification but I could be wrong. I think some people who query trans identity call themselves gender-critical.

    Thank you - I am still struggling to understand properly what this means.

    More importantly - the RF piece that also includes TF would seem to be a quite niche group. Whereas is appears to be used about anyone who rejects the identification of trans people.

    And @Eutychus I was thinking of here with the horses comment, I just couldn't remember the title. Thank you for it being moved.
  • Radical Feminism often included things like women only spaces, which TERFs would say don’t include trans women.

    Basically a TERF is just a radical feminist who doesn’t accept trans women as being genuinely women. A minority of TERFs self-identify as such, but they’re quite small.
  • What is the difference between a radical feminist and a feminist ?
  • This is a very unpleasant area of debate right now. A long term friend of mine who transitioned some 30 years ago is disgusted at where this is going. Few people are getting the help and support they need, and the shouting is doing more harm than good. Unless you want to get dragged into one of the most depressingly toxic discourses imaginable, may I politely suggest you leave well alone.

    Here is a good summation by philosopher Kenan Malik.
    Stock and Murphy raise certain issues not because they are bigots but because of the realities facing women in society. Whatever one thinks of their arguments, these realities will not disappear simply by labelling critical feminists ‘hatemongers’. All it does is to cheapen the meaning of hatred, making life easier for the real bigots and to eviscerate public debate. Joubert’s observation has rarely seemed more vital.
  • Schroedingers CatSchroedingers Cat Shipmate, Waving not Drowning Host
    This is a very unpleasant area of debate right now.

    Oh I know that. Which is why I want to be educated to understand the debate (I have no desire to be part of it - just to understand). It happens around a lot of my twitter feed.

  • What is the difference between a radical feminist and a feminist ?

    Radical feminists tend to be aligned with radical left politics. So Marxist-Feminists, anarchists, and the like. Radical feminists also tend to be more trenchantly critical of prevailing standards, attitudes, and behaviors that allow for systems of oppression to be erected.

    Feminists, on the other hand, tend to just be about “empowering” women without criticizing any of the underlying systems that result in women’s, and other minorities’, oppression.
  • Not much to understand if you ask me. I made up my mind based on who was throwing the punches, and who was trying to have a reasonable debate...
  • Re TERF:

    I wonder if the above definition ("TERF = Trans-Exclusionary-Radical-Feminist")--especially when meant as an insult--suggests women who don't like men *at all*? From that TERF point of view, a trans woman would still be a man, and therefore someone they don't want to be around. A trans man might be seen as going over to the enemy.

    * Not suggesting at all that Doublethink meant it as anything more than a definition!
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    The usual distinction is that sex is physical and biological - a combination of chromosomes and genitalia, while gender is a matter of social roles.

    A radical feminist AIUI is one who thinks all gender distinctions are pernicious and should be overthrown; but that as things stand women-only spaces are required because men are socialised to at best dominate discussion e.g. by mansplaining and at worst resort to violence.
    If gender isn't a real thing, it would follow that trans-people cannot really be of a gender at odds with their biological sex.

    Trans-people of course would say their experience does not fit into the theory.

    (I hope that's not itself too mansplainy.)
  • OK, I really want to get my head around some of these areas, and I want a safe place to get information.

    This has sort of come from the JKR furore, but I also realise that I don;t always know what some people mean or what the "right" answers are.

    Note, I would like to be able to express how I see things, without being dragged over the coals - I genuinely want to understand.

    So, as I see it:

    There are two main genetic sexual definitions - XX and XY - with a few other oddities (extra chromosomes).

    There are two "observed genders" - I think that is right. This is based on external genitalia, and based on what is seen at birth.

    But I also understand that gender and sexual definition are far wider than this - there are many many sexual definitions. Some people do not match their observed gender.

    Or have I got it wrong? And what does a TERF actually mean?

    There is also the challenging question of Gender Identity? Identarians? People "identifying" as a different gender for abuse purposes.

    Argh!!!! Please can people help me out, not least because I think some clarity - from all sorts of people - will help others.

    I don't believe this is Equine related - I don't wish to discuss so much whether this is acceptable. I want to understand what the questions and definitions are. So that I can engage in conversation and have half a clue. Thank you.


    As far as I've come to understand things, during and after the other very conflictual topic on transgender is that the large majority people find that their identity as male or female corresponds to their biological sex. With the almost infinite variation among humanity, there are a minority who find that what they feel inside about being male or female does not match their observed biology, and this group suffers from all of terrible things that minorities suffer from: persecution as a group and individuals, violence, social exclusion, increased physical and mental illnesses etc.

    The societies we live in have not come to terms with how to accommodate this group in accord with human rights, and what to do when the rights of transgender people are perceived to clash with others' rights (the majority). There are many things that come up when we discuss transgender, with some issues being cited as discriminatory by even raising them, with what appears to me to be quickness to judgement. Perhaps name calling is warranted in some cases, though I don't think it changes peoples' views. Clearly we have not come to terms with transgender people in competition with non-transgenderd people in athletics and sports. Is there an advantage for some people over others based on biological sex, what role do hormones play in this at the time of competition and also before hormone therapy if the hormone therapy is started in adulthood? There is not sufficient data as far as I can tell to know the answer to the broad question, and also to the specific questions as to what advantage is suggested to accrue to whom during what activity.

    We also have not integrated well studied child and adolescent developmental psychology with the understandings of adult or mature people and their gender identities, i.e., what are the developmental pathways and is there a diversity of pathways or only one or a few. It gets very shouty and angry easily. I don't think Twitter is a helpful medium to discuss complex issues, and would suggest the Ms. Rowling unwisely tried this.
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Admin
    edited December 2019
    On the simple question of sport, there are a great many women who can beat me in a competitive race, but I still find myself when crossing the line at my local parkrun in 50th place, having only 4 or 5 women ahead of me. The field is entirely self-selecting, but is roughly 60%-40% men/women. I am an entirely average club runner of my age.

    It would seem unreasonable, certainly at my level, to expect women to compete with men.
  • Dafyd wrote: »
    The usual distinction is that sex is physical and biological - a combination of chromosomes and genitalia, while gender is a matter of social roles.
    Well....

  • ECraigR wrote: »
    What is the difference between a radical feminist and a feminist ?

    Radical feminists tend to be aligned with radical left politics. So Marxist-Feminists, anarchists, and the like. Radical feminists also tend to be more trenchantly critical of prevailing standards, attitudes, and behaviors that allow for systems of oppression to be erected.

    Feminists, on the other hand, tend to just be about “empowering” women without criticizing any of the underlying systems that result in women’s, and other minorities’, oppression.
    I think that is an oversimplification, it is not a binary thing. In my experience, there is not hard line between radical and just feminist. Not is it a line but a spectrum.

  • OK, I really want to get my head around some of these areas, and I want a safe place to get information.

    This has sort of come from the JKR furore, but I also realise that I don;t always know what some people mean or what the "right" answers are.

    Note, I would like to be able to express how I see things, without being dragged over the coals - I genuinely want to understand.

    So, as I see it:

    There are two main genetic sexual definitions - XX and XY - with a few other oddities (extra chromosomes).
    See the link in my response to Dafyd. Sex is more complex than just chromosomes.
  • As others have noted, sex is far more complex than XX vs XY, vagina vs penis.

    This essay does as good a job of explaining the complexities as anything I've ever read. Pour yourself a cuppa and get comfortable, because it's going to take a bit of time to work your way through it.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    ECraigR wrote: »
    What is the difference between a radical feminist and a feminist ?

    Radical feminists tend to be aligned with radical left politics. So Marxist-Feminists, anarchists, and the like. Radical feminists also tend to be more trenchantly critical of prevailing standards, attitudes, and behaviors that allow for systems of oppression to be erected.

    Feminists, on the other hand, tend to just be about “empowering” women without criticizing any of the underlying systems that result in women’s, and other minorities’, oppression.
    I think that is an oversimplification, it is not a binary thing. In my experience, there is not hard line between radical and just feminist. Not is it a line but a spectrum.

    It was meant to be a simplification.

    I would say on the whole that people who self-identify as radical feminists tend to do so against the Taylor Swift kind of feminism that simply seeks to empower women.

  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    Thanks for that Josephine - I found it fascinating, but think I am going to have to read it several times before it sinks in. (pre- Christmas brain).
  • josephine wrote: »
    As others have noted, sex is far more complex than XX vs XY, vagina vs penis.

    This essay does as good a job of explaining the complexities as anything I've ever read. Pour yourself a cuppa and get comfortable, because it's going to take a bit of time to work your way through it.
    Thank you, that was interesting.

  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    On the simple question of sport, there are a great many women who can beat me in a competitive race, but I still find myself when crossing the line at my local parkrun in 50th place, having only 4 or 5 women ahead of me. The field is entirely self-selecting, but is roughly 60%-40% men/women. I am an entirely average club runner of my age.

    It would seem unreasonable, certainly at my level, to expect women to compete with men.

    But the question of who is a wo/man is not easy. There was a big dispute here last year when an athlete born male transitioned to female and sought to compete against those born female. From memory, the sport was weightlifting where the difference matters. In the end, the regulatory committee decided that the athlete had to compete in men's competitions.
  • For me, the problem with chromosome fundamentalism is that it doesn't explain the status of women for nearly all of history, for nearly every culture in every place. It explains some of the division of reproductive labour, but it doesn't explain why a person with two x chromosomes should be paid less than a person with just one. Or why a person with two x chromosomes shouldn't be allowed to vote, or own property, or get an education, or make their own decisions about their life. Or why anyone would think a natural process like menstruation is shameful.

    The only thing that explains the status of women -and most men - in society is that men have always been allowed - even encouraged - to use their strength to control other people, men or women, for better or worse. Gender in society isn't about chromosomes; it's about deciding who has power and privilege. Gender allows even the lowest-status man to feel superior to somebody ... women.

    TERFs are quite clear that they believe trans women are not women because they have enjoyed male privilege for some part of their life. At the very least, that shows a complete ignorance of what most trans women's lives are like. And if genitals and chromosomes were all that mattered to them, they would consider trans men their peers.
  • I think there are other factors as well. One is plain old fashioned irrational prejudice.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host
    And sometimes ignorance and prejudice are made worse by fear of change or the dangers of setting a legal or religious precedent.

    I have been reading this thread and thinking about my friend the anti-apartheid and intersex activist Sally Gross, who died in 2014 and who wrote and published extensively on her experience of growing up male and deciding to live as a woman.

    Sally was born into a Jewish family in Cape Town and her sexual identity was ambiguous from birth. The gender identity we are assigned at birth is the crucial binary that for most of us determines so much about how we will grow up. If Sally had been born a few years later, she would have undergone sexual reassignment surgery at Red Cross Children's Hospital and would almost definitely have been given a female identity. But although a circumcision could not be performed, she was named Selwyn and raised male.

    To avoid persecution as an anti-apartheid activist, Selwyn left South Africa and moved to Israel, served in the Israeli army. He developed sympathies for the Palestinian people and then converted to Catholicism, was ordained as a Dominican priest and taught theology and ethics at Oxford and other universities.

    While undergoing a routine medical procedure in his 40s, Selwyn discovered he had a womb and ovaries, many secondary characteristics and was far more 'female' than 'male'. He did not identify as a gay man and wanted to live as a woman or intersex person. When Selwyn/Sally began coming out as intersex, the Dominican order reacted quite brutally and the psychic damage and scarring from the subsequent expulsion from the priesthood would stay with Sally all her life. In later years, many of her priest colleagues and superiors would contact her personally to apologise: their concern had been to to protect the church and affirm the inadmissability of a woman or intersex individual to the priesthood. Sally's intersex activism helped establish rights not just in South Africa but globally.
  • Huia wrote: »
    Thanks for that Josephine - I found it fascinating, but think I am going to have to read it several times before it sinks in. (pre- Christmas brain).

    Ditto all of that.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    lilBuddha's link and josephine's link are very helpful. The natural world demonstrates variety, and the more we get to know about it the more variety we find.

    Binary thinking is understandable, based on historical social categories. But it no longer stands up to serious scrutiny. In TERF, the crucial letter is E. Inclusivity is a better moral stance since it accords dignity and respect to human beings whose place in the naturally occurring variety is membership of a minority group.
  • I think this question is complicated. And part of the complication is because trans people are not just claiming rights for themselves, not just saying that they are and should have a protected status but that they are actually women (or men). Which is a bit of a mind-bender for feminists who have been fighting for a very long time for their rights against, it sometimes seems, impossible odds.

    This has, unfortunately, turned into a spiral of confrontation and reprisal.

    Which is sad because it seems like an unnecessary diversion and fight.

    At worst, the two groups could get on with their own thing without getting entangled with each other. At best, they could be allies.

    Footnote: the whole thing about sport is silly. Too often one is attempting to compare the "general" man with the "general" woman and then moves on to discuss a hypothetical situation where all womens' sport becomes somehow dominated by trans women.

    We can surely have a better and more enlightened discussion than that.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    I've just finished reading Vicky Beeching's autobiographical 'Undivided'. In the context of this discussion, it provides valuable insight into the cost of living with a secret about yourself because you feel, know, you will experience exclusion from a community you value once you reveal what you are like.

    The cost of exclusion and exclusionary norms can be measured in the suffering of those who learn from an early age that they don't fit in. As I say, from my POV, E is the crucial letter.
  • Schroedingers CatSchroedingers Cat Shipmate, Waving not Drowning Host
    josephine wrote: »
    As others have noted, sex is far more complex than XX vs XY, vagina vs penis.

    This essay does as good a job of explaining the complexities as anything I've ever read. Pour yourself a cuppa and get comfortable, because it's going to take a bit of time to work your way through it.

    I will give that a read - thank you.

    And I was trying to say in the OP that these definitions are often used (as "scientific" definitions) but that it is far more complex than this.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Dafyd wrote: »
    The usual distinction is that sex is physical and biological - a combination of chromosomes and genitalia, while gender is a matter of social roles.
    Well...
    That would by why I said 'a combination of chromosomes and genitalia' rather than just said sex was determined by one or the other. It was probably clearer earlier in the editing process, but the post was quite long enough already.

  • Schroedingers CatSchroedingers Cat Shipmate, Waving not Drowning Host
    That was an interesting read, and matches what I thought (I might not have posted clearly). that gender is a very broad spectrum, not a binary division. The XX-XY and external genitalia definitions that I mentioned in the OP are what I so often see cited as "proof" that there are only 2 sexes. But it becomes clear that neither of these are definitive - or definitively binary.

    But then also people who don't necessarily fit into these binary categories want to - or feel a need to - fit into one of these categories. Trans people who want to fit into one of these. People who "identify as" - but who reject the intentification terminology.

    And on the one side people arguing that there are not just 2 genders, while others arguing that those who consider themselves to be women but have been assigned as men are actually "men". But if there is no rigid divide, then this makes no sense.

    FWIW, I am absolutely accepting that gender definition is very broad. There is no clear division between male and female. And yet we are not accepting this, not acknowledging that M/F divisions - however we want them - are not really valid.

    Just to throw this open even further (sorry) - it always* struck me as odd that "men and women can't share changing rooms" because of supposed sexual attraction. And yet if a reasonable portion of people are homosexual, surely this is an issue. It is (ISTM) impossible to have such "safe" spaces, if gender and sexuality are both on a spectrum.

    *Well, as long as I can remember - a couple of weeks, probably.
  • I haven't read your link yet, @josephine, but it's great to see you back!
  • Just to throw this open even further (sorry) - it always* struck me as odd that "men and women can't share changing rooms" because of supposed sexual attraction. And yet if a reasonable portion of people are homosexual, surely this is an issue. It is (ISTM) impossible to have such "safe" spaces, if gender and sexuality are both on a spectrum.

    Women of my generation have been socialised to check their surroundings for safety; don't enter a lift with a lone male, don't walk home alone late at night, move to a different carriage if you find yourself alone with a man, if you get into a taxi with a male driver, text the number plate to a friend etc etc. The problem with men and women sharing changing rooms is that women have been socialised to believe this is not safe.

    Moreover the #MeToo movement suggests that many women are wary because they have experienced sexual assault.

    There has been a long and sorry history of women being told that rape is their own fault if their skirt was too short, or their top too low cut, or their jeans too tight.

    It is a complete 180 degree change to be told that we are not safe from groping when we are fully dressed on public transport, but we are safe - why would we think otherwise??? - in a state of undress in a changing room.

    The solution, I think, may be better designed buildings. Aberdeen Art Gallery has just made all of its toilets gender neutral with an expensive refit - eight fully contained gender neutral toilets come off a central corridor, each with a toilet, sink, and proper walls and door, rather than one big room, with cubicles. I love it. Less queuing for the ladies toilets, and it feels completely safe. I would like to see all toilets in public places designed like this.



  • Our local pool has had mixed changing for 30 years. I've never heard of objections. Of course, there are cubicles, including family ones.
  • MaryLouise wrote: »
    I have been reading this thread and thinking about my friend the anti-apartheid and intersex activist Sally Gross, who died in 2014 and who wrote and published extensively on her experience of growing up male and deciding to live as a woman.

    A woman I know was also born with ambiguous genitalia, assigned male at birth, had multiple surgeries in infancy and childhood, and came out as a trans woman in early adulthood. She learned that she had been born intersex during her first examination by the surgeon from whom she was seeking gender confirmation surgery. Her parents and her physicians, when she was growing up, withheld that information from her, and lied to her about the reason for all the various surgeries and medical treatments she'd been subjected to.

    She could have forgiven them for trusting the doctors and following what they were told were "best practices" in her infancy and early childhood. She can't forgive the lies.
  • Dafyd wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Dafyd wrote: »
    The usual distinction is that sex is physical and biological - a combination of chromosomes and genitalia, while gender is a matter of social roles.
    Well...
    That would by why I said 'a combination of chromosomes and genitalia' rather than just said sex was determined by one or the other. It was probably clearer earlier in the editing process, but the post was quite long enough already.
    My point, or rather the point of the link, is that it is more than chromosomes and genitalia.

  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    The solution, I think, may be better designed buildings. Aberdeen Art Gallery has just made all of its toilets gender neutral with an expensive refit - eight fully contained gender neutral toilets come off a central corridor, each with a toilet, sink, and proper walls and door, rather than one big room, with cubicles. I love it. Less queuing for the ladies toilets, and it feels completely safe. I would like to see all toilets in public places designed like this.

    As railway stations here have been renovated over the last decade or so o that sort of standard. Some don't have a central corridor, opening straight out onto platforms, but the principle is much the same. A major improvement over the old toilets.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host
    josephine wrote: »
    MaryLouise wrote: »
    I have been reading this thread and thinking about my friend the anti-apartheid and intersex activist Sally Gross, who died in 2014 and who wrote and published extensively on her experience of growing up male and deciding to live as a woman.

    A woman I know was also born with ambiguous genitalia, assigned male at birth, had multiple surgeries in infancy and childhood, and came out as a trans woman in early adulthood. She learned that she had been born intersex during her first examination by the surgeon from whom she was seeking gender confirmation surgery. Her parents and her physicians, when she was growing up, withheld that information from her, and lied to her about the reason for all the various surgeries and medical treatments she'd been subjected to.

    She could have forgiven them for trusting the doctors and following what they were told were "best practices" in her infancy and early childhood. She can't forgive the lies.

    @Josephine, the widespread practice in recent years of intersex surgeries at birth is problematic and it isn't easy for parents to decide what to disclose and when. An intersex acquaintance was initially defined as 'pseudohermaphrodite' and had traumatic surgery to 'fit' a female genital profile, undergoing (and I need to be fairly graphic here), clitoral reduction, vaginoplasty and the removal of undescended testes. Because of scarring and inflammation, she had trouble with urinary infections for years and was only told what had been done and why at puberty. She felt that puberty was a terrible time to discover her identity as a male had been destroyed.

    At the same time, she understood how hard it had been for her parents to come to terms with her intersex identity themselves and how unsure they were that they had done the 'right thing'. If she had been left as intersex, she says her parents could not have sent her to a public school and she would have been regarded as a 'freak' by the community. At the same time, she feels the surgery was misguided and 'cosmetic', unnecessary and traumatic. She now defines her physiology and emotional makeup as being part of Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome and argues against infant surgery.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host
    I've been thinking about the old problem of gender essentialism, a view that predates feminism and keeps popping up in all kinds of contexts. Obama recently argued that women leaders are 'indisputably better' than men at a conference in Singapore.

    The key argument behind gender essentialism, linked to biological determinism and 'whiteness', is that the biological and psychological differences between men and woman are natural, profound, fixed, intrinsic, innate and moral. This essentialism is universal: women everywhere and throughout history are nurturing, empathetic, supportive, non-competitive and feminine. Because of this, women are the gentler sex, programmed to be more compassionate, maternal, caring and self-sacrificing and hence ethically superior to men. Women are nobler, finer beings. They are inherently more profoundly spiritual, more intuitive and in touch with nature.

    This is a belief that appealed (to give just one or two examples) to women's temperance movements in the 19th century as well as to early radical feminists. If societies were matriarchal, they would be non-hierarchical , not warlike, nurturing and peaceful. If women ruled the world, it would be a better (and different) place.

    This idealised and ahistorical view is the flip side of the inferiorization (ugly word) of women that sees them as not having souls, being incapable of rational thought, needing to be confined to the domestic sphere as mothers and wives, naturally passive rather than aggressive, needing male protection, that women are tied to nature and not culture, that woman cannot be scientists or philosophers or the equal of men.

    It's easy to dismiss gender essentialism in its more simplistic aspects, but it is still key to much radical feminist thinking around the need to create safe spaces for women and children (battered women shelters, rape crisis sanctuaries), a focus on women's reproductive rights, and opposition to prostitution and pornography. In order to understand and counter TERF arguments, I've found myself having to revisit radical feminism and essentialism around cis-women.
  • RussRuss Shipmate
    There is no clear division between male and female. And yet we are not accepting this, not acknowledging that M/F divisions - however we want them - are not really valid.

    99% of the time there is a clear distinction between male and female.

    Does a distinction become invalid if there's a grey area around the edge ? Rather than a rigorous hard-and-fast answer in every case ? Does your thinking distinguish children from adults ? Military personnel from civilians ? Disabled people from the able-bodied population ?

    Acknowledging the grey areas should make us humble (life is strange & we don't know everything) and open to the particulars of individual circumstance. Not dogmatic about a different categorisation.

    What's needed here is a bit of common sense.

    Many sports are organised into events for males and females because of the different capabilities of male and female bodies. People with male bodies should not be allowed to compete in female events. Their feelings and social identity are irrelevant to this particular determination.

    Otherwise you might as well have boxing matches for those who self-identify as lightweight...

  • Russ wrote: »

    Otherwise you might as well have boxing matches for those who self-identify as lightweight...

    I think boxing is way too dangerous to be a sport for long however I can't see any sensible rationale that says an increase in classes and categorisations would lead to less competitive fights.

    This seems like a particularly silly hill upon which to die.
  • BlahblahBlahblah Suspended
    edited December 2019
    I like ice hockey. I'm not proud of it and I am trying to persuade myself that it too is way to dangerous to be a sport.

    As far as I'm concerned, it makes zero difference on the ice who the forward is. They need to be big and fast. They need to have some natural talent and be lucky with injuries.

    If a woman or a trans person meets the criteria then yes, get them into the team.

    In practice I think it is hard to imagine many would do well in top-flight men's ice hockey.

    The women's game is a different thing. In some ways I prefer it. Someone who is too big and keeps fighting would be a liability. Being nimble and fit and skilled is more what's needed.

    So I can't really see there is an issue here. Big brawny players line up against other big brawny players. The lighter players play other light players.

    If necessary have extra classes by size.

    What's the problem?
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    People make out doing more categorisations is insanely strange and difficult, as if boxing, seeding and the paralympics didn’t exist.

    (We could probably class for most sports on a formula based on percentage muscle mass and height.)
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    I think the straw man being offered up here is a 20 stone 6'7" mountain of muscle identifying as lightweight. It's based on the false picture of gender identification as being men pretending to be women and vice versa, which in turn is based on the idea that gender is as objective as body weight or species ("can I identify as an elephant then?" etc. etc. ad nauseam bigotorum...)
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    I also don’t understand the idea that women’s toilets are somehow uniquely dangerous over any other room. Unlike the men’s we don’t get out genitals out in the communal area - it’s perfectly possible to put cctv in the communal area of women’s loos of you are really worried.

    (Changing rooms make slightly more sense, though again - cubicles are a thing you can do.)
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    I went to an all girls boarding school, and when it was about to be merged with the boys school and go coed - it had to be explained to them that they couldn’t continue to have run through showers by the entrance to the boarding houses.

    To which my question would be, why did anyone ever think this would be a good idea for boys - or children being looked after by a changing cast of unrelated adults ?
  • I went to an all girls boarding school, and when it was about to be merged with the boys school and go coed - it had to be explained to them that they couldn’t continue to have run through showers by the entrance to the boarding houses.

    To which my question would be, why did anyone ever think this would be a good idea for boys - or children being looked after by a changing cast of unrelated adults ?

    Run-through showers always were an invitation to bullying. I can't really see why anyone thought that was a good idea.
  • Question from across the pond: what is a run-through shower? (Google is not being my friend.)
  • The showers are in rows, usually on both sides in a long room. In my school I think they had about 6 or 10 shower heads on each side.

    I guess the design is either from the military or perhaps prisons.

    Boys would go home unwashed because of the embarrassment and bullying.
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