TERFs, gender, sex, etc.

1246714

Comments

  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host, Epiphanies Host
    edited December 2019
    The book burning thing is just weird to me. Having read all the Harry Potter books and thoroughly enjoyed them I cannot for the life of me see how they promote transphobia, just as I could not see how they were promoting occultish beliefs and behaviour.

    Nor have I removed "The Female Eunuch" from my bookshelves because I believe Germaine Greer is wrong about trans. She was right about endemic male prejudice and its demeaning of women and right to write forcefully about that.

    Nobody is forced to listen to orfeo's link. I did and thought it did a good job. It explores in some depth, as the link title indicates, how outrage is hijacking our culture and our minds. That's an important topic. Maybe worth a thread of its own in Purgatory? And it does indeed link to this thread. Trans challenges historical and generally held stereotypes. Educational approaches to the wrongs and dangers inherent in stereotypes seem to me to be a lot more constructive than flying off the handle. That way points to Fahrenheit 451 and McCarthyism.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host, Epiphanies Host
    audio tangent/

    Here is a personal synopsis of the audio link orfeo supplied.

    The programme looks in depth at a telling example of a social media storm, the evolutionary roots of outrage, its initial social value, its misuse in social media, its advantages to owners of social media platforms in increasing engagement, its disturbing social consequences, and its tendencies to reinforce polarisation, rather than providing opportunities for folks to reflect and modify their opinions.

    One quote may help. "Outrage locks us into our own echo chambers.". It's your choice, as Louise says absolutely correctly, but personally I found it well worth three quarters of an hour of my time. I am concerned about the increasing and deepening polarisation of our societies, interested in examining underlying causes and looking at remedies. And will take this general issue to Purgatory

    Barnabas62
    Epiphanies Host

    /end audio tangent
  • RussRuss Shipmate
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    ‘Sex is real, it just isn’t binary’ takes away the power of their bullshit.

    But it's not true. Sex is binary. You participate in the continuation of the species either by fathering a child or bearing a child. No third way, no half-measures.

    What is a spectrum is the level of sex-related hormones in each individual's system.

    I don't know what words you'd use to describe the difference between people with higher or lower hormone levels for their sex. But it seems to me that that is about masculinity and femininity.

    I would not say that a relatively-masculine woman was any less of a woman than a very-feminine woman is. That seems to me untrue and unkind. But it seems the logical conclusion from the idea that "sex is a spectrum" between people who are very womanly and those who are very manly. Better to distinguish a male/female binary from a masculine/feminine spectrum.

  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    @Russ have you read the link in this post from lilbuddha? You appear to be disagreeing with its conclusions without engaging with its premises.
  • orfeo wrote: »
    For one thing, it's not criticism of JKR that I have a problem with. It's people behaving as if one single comment is worth burning an entire career over.

    Whose career are we talking about? Forstater's or Rowling's?

    Forstater wasn't just sacked* for a tweet, she was sacked, according to this, because her tweets indicate she would insist on misgendering transgender people (i.e. calling transwomen 'he', etc).

    I doubt Rowling's sales are going to be significantly harmed by this spat except among a relatively small corner of the Twitter echo chamber. In any case, as @lilbuddha has said, Rowling has been using Twitter to promote campaigns that are important to her for a number of years. She is pretty much a Twitter pro. She knows the risks and she knows what she's getting into.


    * I take @Doublethink 's comment that she wasn't technically sacked, she just didn't have her contract renewed, but I suspect that is mostly a reflection on the state of academic job security ..
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host, Epiphanies Host
    Russ

    I note the not-so-subtle subtle conflation of sex and procreation. Human conception is of course binary without some scientific intervention to merge materials. It involves an egg and a sperm. But you cannot expand that logically to the view that therefore sex is binary.

    As BroJames says, you are not engaging with the premises in lilBuddha's link. Nor are you engaging with those in josephine's link. We frown on circularity in discussions here. I encourage you to engage, not assert and revert and persist. Else you are going down the sealioning route.

    Barnabas62
    Epiphanies Host
  • Ricardus wrote: »


    * I take @Doublethink 's comment that she wasn't technically sacked, she just didn't have her contract renewed, but I suspect that is mostly a reflection on the state of academic job security ..

    I am not a lawyer but I believe this was an important detail in the recent case. If you are a permanent employee, being fired/sacked is a big deal - employment tribunals, protections, correct proceedures and paperwork etc.

    Conversely if you are looking for an extended contract and do not get it, that's less of a deal.

    Those who are apparently supporting this person are saying that an organisation should be forced to employ someone on a new contract even if they feel something they've said on social media goes against a core value.

    Which doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. If I'm a vocal Tory on twitter, you'd think that the Labour party could take that into account when considering offering employment.

    That might well be a different thing if a permanent employee suddenly started tweeting support for the Tories and Labour tried to fire them.
  • Blahblah wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »


    * I take @Doublethink 's comment that she wasn't technically sacked, she just didn't have her contract renewed, but I suspect that is mostly a reflection on the state of academic job security ..

    I am not a lawyer but I believe this was an important detail in the recent case. If you are a permanent employee, being fired/sacked is a big deal - employment tribunals, protections, correct proceedures and paperwork etc.

    Conversely if you are looking for an extended contract and do not get it, that's less of a deal.

    Those who are apparently supporting this person are saying that an organisation should be forced to employ someone on a new contract even if they feel something they've said on social media goes against a core value.

    Which doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. If I'm a vocal Tory on twitter, you'd think that the Labour party could take that into account when considering offering employment.

    That might well be a different thing if a permanent employee suddenly started tweeting support for the Tories and Labour tried to fire them.

    Legally I'm sure you're right - morally, though, it may depend on whether the contract would be 'expected' to be renewed. I think a lot of academics are on short-term contracts that are constantly being rolled over, and that this arrangement exists almost entirely to benefit the employer rather than the academic. So if Forstater has little legal recourse, that could mean she's in the wrong, but it could also mean that the system is set up to shaft academics.
  • Yes, I am very aware of short academic contracts. "Expectation" regularly counts for nothing.

    Also, as far as I understood, she worked for a think-tank which is not an academic role.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    Yes, and what they asked her to do - according to her own blog - was put a disclaimer in her twitter bio. So essentially to write at the top of her page, that these were her personal opinions not those of her employer.

    That does not seem to me to be an unreasonable request to make. They didn’t tell her not to post, but as I understand it she declined to write the disclaimer.
  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    Ricardus wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »
    For one thing, it's not criticism of JKR that I have a problem with. It's people behaving as if one single comment is worth burning an entire career over.

    Whose career are we talking about? Forstater's or Rowling's?

    I was referring to Rowling's. Believe me, some responses on social media act as if her work must never be experienced again.

  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    Barnabas62 wrote: »
    audio tangent/

    Here is a personal synopsis of the audio link orfeo supplied.

    The programme looks in depth at a telling example of a social media storm, the evolutionary roots of outrage, its initial social value, its misuse in social media, its advantages to owners of social media platforms in increasing engagement, its disturbing social consequences, and its tendencies to reinforce polarisation, rather than providing opportunities for folks to reflect and modify their opinions.

    One quote may help. "Outrage locks us into our own echo chambers.". It's your choice, as Louise says absolutely correctly, but personally I found it well worth three quarters of an hour of my time. I am concerned about the increasing and deepening polarisation of our societies, interested in examining underlying causes and looking at remedies. And will take this general issue to Purgatory

    Barnabas62
    Epiphanies Host

    /end audio tangent

    If people want to read rather than listen, there is a transcript of it here. https://www.npr.org/transcripts/767186846

    I certainly did not require anyone to listen to it.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    Yes, and what they asked her to do - according to her own blog - was put a disclaimer in her twitter bio. So essentially to write at the top of her page, that these were her personal opinions not those of her employer.

    That does not seem to me to be an unreasonable request to make. They didn’t tell her not to post, but as I understand it she declined to write the disclaimer.

    Having now read the link to her blog that you posted earlier, I don't think that is the case:
    I am perfectly happy to use preferred pronouns and accept everyone’s humanity and right to free expression.

    [...] The tone of these discussions was one of ordinary discussion and disagreement, but not long after I received an email from HR saying that some staff at CGD, which is based in Washington DC as well as London, had expressed concern. I was told to put a disclaimer into my twitter bio and warned that a lot of people would find my tweets offensive and exclusionary.

    I complied with the request to state that my opinions are my own, but said that I stand by my statements, and that, as this is a live policy issue where clarity and debate is needed, I will continue to tweet and write about it.

    [...] It was eventually found that I had not violated the organisation’s bullying and harassment policy, but nevertheless as a result of expressing my belief, in March this year I was told my appointment as a Visiting Fellow at CGD would not be renewed.

    It does sound like, if she'd been on a proper contract, she wouldn't have been sacked.
  • Can we now stop saying she was sacked? She wasn't. She was not given another contract, a decision upheld by a tribunal. The end.

    If she had been employed she may have had other internal disciplinary proceedures before being sacked. Maybe the organisation did not have them because they had not forseen this set of circumstances. I don't know, it doesn't matter.

    Nobody can demand a job they don't have. And the organisation can legitimately consider her behaviour in this matter as germane with regard to considering whether to offer any more contracts.

    What else is there to debate?
  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    To get away from the whole question of who tweeted what and just get back to the basic questions of sex and gender...

    It seems to me that a lot of the problem simply derives from whether or not people consider the brain to be, well, to be a sex organ.

    Or even whether people take the brain into account when thinking about "the body".

    It's terribly important, and yet because it's so hidden away (precisely because it's terribly important and we'd rather not have it easily damaged) we have a tendency to file it away out of the physical body category. We sometimes instead conceive of a 'mind', and don't treat that as being in the physical realm.

    I raise this because it seems to me that some people think of "sex" as a physical thing with physical evidence, but "gender" as a mental thing. Which then leads to treating transgenderism as being mental, and interpreting it as a transgender person denying physical reality.

    We're not terribly good at looking at brains yet. As I understand it, much of the research into the brains of transgender people happens after their death thanks to the tragically high suicide rate, and the science tends to indicate that, to the extent there are sex differences in brains, a transgender person's brain will match the sex they report themselves to be.

    When people's body parts don't all match up with the characteristics of one sex, we recognise that as intersex. I tend to think that if we recognised the brain as a body part, being 'transgender' would come to be regarded as a particular example of this.
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    Yes, and what they asked her to do - according to her own blog - was put a disclaimer in her twitter bio. So essentially to write at the top of her page, that these were her personal opinions not those of her employer.

    That does not seem to me to be an unreasonable request to make. They didn’t tell her not to post, but as I understand it she declined to write the disclaimer.

    Having now read the link to her blog that you posted earlier, I don't think that is the case:
    I am perfectly happy to use preferred pronouns and accept everyone’s humanity and right to free expression.

    [...] The tone of these discussions was one of ordinary discussion and disagreement, but not long after I received an email from HR saying that some staff at CGD, which is based in Washington DC as well as London, had expressed concern. I was told to put a disclaimer into my twitter bio and warned that a lot of people would find my tweets offensive and exclusionary.

    I complied with the request to state that my opinions are my own, but said that I stand by my statements, and that, as this is a live policy issue where clarity and debate is needed, I will continue to tweet and write about it.

    [...] It was eventually found that I had not violated the organisation’s bullying and harassment policy, but nevertheless as a result of expressing my belief, in March this year I was told my appointment as a Visiting Fellow at CGD would not be renewed.

    It does sound like, if she'd been on a proper contract, she wouldn't have been sacked.

    My apologies, I had missed that whilst picking up my jaw from the floor whilst reading the rest of the article.

    Who posts something, and then goes, but no one is getting angry enough, I’ll try again, and again. Oh great my trolling has now got a response, I will now post 150 times in a week. That’s I dunno, once per waking hour !
  • Yes, almost as if she was trying to wind people up, kept failing, but at last has attained a martyrs crown.
  • Ms. Forstater was a visiting fellow for a think tank, doing research in the area of taxation.

    Before she started using her twitter feed to talk about trans issues, she used it to talk about her professional field.

    Her employer decided two things: First, her posts and commentary on trans issues was creating a hostile work environment. Second, and perhaps more important, her posts and commentary on trans issues was causing clients and donors to have second thoughts about working with them.

    Therefore, they chose not to renew her contract, when it came to an end.

    She sued, claiming that her beliefs about trans people should be accorded the same protection that religious views do. According to the Guardian, the ruling didn't address whether her beliefs are true, or whether the think tank was right to fire her. Instead:
    This ruling was purely about whether Forstater’s views count as a so-called protected belief, like religious faith, which employers can’t discriminate against someone for holding.

    There are, apparently, five legal tests that determine whether a belief is protected under UK law. Her beliefs passed four of the tests. However,
    the judge ruled that Forstater’s desire to be able to refer to someone by the sex she felt appropriate, even if that created an “intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment”, failed the fifth test – that a protected belief can’t violate human dignity or conflict with fundamental rights. Put simply, those seeking the protection of the law can’t ignore the protection it affords others.
    (emphasis added)

    The judge simply put transphobia into the same bucket as race realism. Which is exactly where it belongs.
  • I believe that's not quite correct. I believe the tribunal was asked to consider whether the employer could consider the words in question because the applicant was saying they were protected, in the same way that making statements about other things are protected.

    She was knocked back at a very early legal state because it is quite obvious that these views about trans issues are not protected. So there wasn't anything else for the tribunal to consider; the contract had ended, she was not sacked, there was no case for unfair dismissal.
  • RussRuss Shipmate
    BroJames wrote: »
    @Russ have you read the link in this post from lilbuddha? You appear to be disagreeing with its conclusions without engaging with its premises.

    @BroJames, that article, like the previous ones, seems to say that biology is complicated and that there is no simple causal connection between hormones and maleness/femaleness.

    That article adds the complication that hormone levels vary within each individual in response to environmental stimuli.

    I don't doubt the science. But it seems to me that the conclusions of the article (transgender is real, sex isn't binary) entirely fail to follow from the scientific data presented.

    My understanding is that transgender - the conviction of being a woman trapped in a man's body or vice versa - is real. But nothing in this article provides any evidence that this is so.

    It may be an effective response to a particular argument published elsewhere. But it does seem to be aimed at demolishing a point of view that is based on an over-simple idea of how bodies work, rather than constructing a positive argument in support of any of the author's belief.

    Are you seeing something there that I'm not ?

  • Blahblah wrote: »
    I believe that's not quite correct. I believe the tribunal was asked to consider whether the employer could consider the words in question because the applicant was saying they were protected, in the same way that making statements about other things are protected.

    She was knocked back at a very early legal state because it is quite obvious that these views about trans issues are not protected. So there wasn't anything else for the tribunal to consider; the contract had ended, she was not sacked, there was no case for unfair dismissal.

    It baffled me that transphobic ideas, or "a trans woman is a man", could be considered a protected characteristic. As discussed earlier, would white pride be protected? But josephine's post above, clarifies this. I think Forstater was trying to say that gender critical ideas are intellectually a coherent whole; however, they often boil down to transphobia, or, more elegantly, TERFs tie rights to body parts, (borrowed from Danielle Moreau).
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Looking at the judgement Forstater had a consultancy agreement with the think tank for six months at the beginning of 2015. She then held an 11+ month visiting fellowship from November 2016. In 2018 she held two overlapping consultancies from March (to May and from April) to December 2018. Her claim was that the termination/non-renewal was due to her expressed belief about transgenderism, and that the termination/non-renewal was therefore unlawful because her belief was protected under s10 because of the Equality Act 2010.

    The hearing was to deal with preliminary issues: whether her belief or lack of belief was a ‘philosophical belief’ within the meaning of the act, whether she was in ‘employment’, and whether s. 39 of the Equality Act applied after 1 January 2019 (at which time, according to the think tank, there was no contract between them and Forstater. There was not sufficient time for the preliminary hearing to deal with the last two issues.

    Guidelines for a philosophical belief to be capable of protection, are that it must:
    • Be genuinely held
    • Be a belief, not an opinion or viewpoint based on the present state of information available
    • Concern a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour
    • Have a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance (although the requirements here are modest)
    • Be worthy of respect in a democratic society which is not incompatible with human dignity and not in conflict with the fundamental rights of others.
    In relation to the last of these criteria the judge said
    I conclude from … the totality of the evidence, that [Forstater] is absolutist in her view of sex and it is a core component of her belief that she will refer to a person by the sex she considered appropriate even if it violates their dignity and/or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. {my emphasis}
    and this, he concluded, made it
    not worthy of respect in a democratic society
    and thus it failed that element of the test for a ‘philosophical belief’.

    Given that he has found that Forstater’s belief is not a ‘philosophical belief’ within the meaning of the Equality Act. Given that finding I think the other two questions which there was not time for are moot only.
  • Russ wrote: »
    BroJames wrote: »
    @Russ have you read the link in this post from lilbuddha? You appear to be disagreeing with its conclusions without engaging with its premises.

    @BroJames, that article, like the previous ones, seems to say that biology is complicated and that there is no simple causal connection between hormones and maleness/femaleness.

    That article adds the complication that hormone levels vary within each individual in response to environmental stimuli.

    I don't doubt the science. But it seems to me that the conclusions of the article (transgender is real, sex isn't binary) entirely fail to follow from the scientific data presented.

    My understanding is that transgender - the conviction of being a woman trapped in a man's body or vice versa - is real. But nothing in this article provides any evidence that this is so.

    It may be an effective response to a particular argument published elsewhere. But it does seem to be aimed at demolishing a point of view that is based on an over-simple idea of how bodies work, rather than constructing a positive argument in support of any of the author's belief.

    Are you seeing something there that I'm not ?

    Reality.
  • One of Judith Butler's insights is about performing gender, not having it. This idea of performance is complex, and one idea I get from it is self-presentation. In other words, constructing what you look like.

    But this is quite odd, as what you look like seems superficial next to some theories of gender. However, it's often relevant. For example, an acquaintance said to me, the solution is obvious, stop trans women going into women's toilets, etc. However, behind his remark is the idea that trans women have a certain look. Do they?
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    You understate @Russ what the article is saying. It doesn’t just deal with hormonal issues.

    In addition to the question of hormones - the third of the three areas the article addresses - it deals specifically with sex from chromosomal and neurological perspectives.

    There is no simple connection between chromosomes and maleness/femaleness.
    The truth is, your biological sex isn’t carved in stone, but a living system with the potential for change.
    Why? Because biological sex is far more complicated than XX or XY (or XXY, or just X). XX individuals could present with male gonads. XY individuals can have ovaries.
    Likewise for neurological differences - what is sometimes referred to as ‘brain sex’
    This is not to say that there are no observable differences. Certain brain characteristics can be sexually dimorphic: observable average differences across males and females. But like biological sex, pointing to “brain sex” as the explanation for these differences is wrong and hinders scientific research.

    In other words the science suggests that the binary polarity of your statement
    Sex is binary. You participate in the continuation of the species either by fathering a child or bearing a child. No third way, no half-measures.
    is not borne out by the science, which is why I asked whether you had read the article.
  • One of Judith Butler's insights is about performing gender, not having it. This idea of performance is complex, and one idea I get from it is self-presentation. In other words, constructing what you look like.

    But this is quite odd, as what you look like seems superficial next to some theories of gender. However, it's often relevant. For example, an acquaintance said to me, the solution is obvious, stop trans women going into women's toilets, etc. However, behind his remark is the idea that trans women have a certain look. Do they?
    The research that has been done suggest a biological component of gender. Brain scans show correlation between trans stated gender and cis gender people.
    There can be performance elements to anything. There is to some LGBT+ dress/behaviour and sure as Hell is to the straight Big, Manly Man stereotype. But the underlying person is real. The "performance" is an outward manifestation, not a costume.
  • orfeo wrote: »
    To get away from the whole question of who tweeted what and just get back to the basic questions of sex and gender...

    It seems to me that a lot of the problem simply derives from whether or not people consider the brain to be, well, to be a sex organ.

    Or even whether people take the brain into account when thinking about "the body".

    It's terribly important, and yet because it's so hidden away (precisely because it's terribly important and we'd rather not have it easily damaged) we have a tendency to file it away out of the physical body category. We sometimes instead conceive of a 'mind', and don't treat that as being in the physical realm.

    I raise this because it seems to me that some people think of "sex" as a physical thing with physical evidence, but "gender" as a mental thing. Which then leads to treating transgenderism as being mental, and interpreting it as a transgender person denying physical reality.

    We're not terribly good at looking at brains yet. As I understand it, much of the research into the brains of transgender people happens after their death thanks to the tragically high suicide rate, and the science tends to indicate that, to the extent there are sex differences in brains, a transgender person's brain will match the sex they report themselves to be.

    When people's body parts don't all match up with the characteristics of one sex, we recognise that as intersex. I tend to think that if we recognised the brain as a body part, being 'transgender' would come to be regarded as a particular example of this.
    Intersex is a thing, but isn't what the articles josephine and I liked to are about.
  • Russ wrote: »
    ...
    But it's not true. Sex is binary. You participate in the continuation of the species either by fathering a child or bearing a child. No third way, no half-measures.
    ....

    Well, I can't do either. What am I, both or nothing?

  • Likewise.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    Also, it’s odd isn’t it people always want to say a man is a man because he has a penis and woman because she has a womb.

    It’s never a man is a man because he has testicles, and a woman’s a woman because she has a clitoris.
  • Being able to reproduce is the main feature of a woman and many men do not know where the clitoris is.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Being able to reproduce is the main feature of a woman and many men do not know where the clitoris is.

    Wait, the what now?
  • DT’s comment is about a man being defined by the source of his pleasure and a woman being defined by the source of her fecundity.
    I added a riff on the complaints many straight women have about the male lack of understanding/caring about a woman’s pleasure. Part of that is a minimal understanding of the structure of the clitoris and how to properly work it.
    Some men, obviously, do. However, the way men and women are defined illustrates why many do not.
  • S'ok, mousethief, I got it.
  • S'ok, mousethief, I got it.

    Thank you.
  • 🥴 derp
    Obviously missed that completely.
  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »
    To get away from the whole question of who tweeted what and just get back to the basic questions of sex and gender...

    It seems to me that a lot of the problem simply derives from whether or not people consider the brain to be, well, to be a sex organ.

    Or even whether people take the brain into account when thinking about "the body".

    It's terribly important, and yet because it's so hidden away (precisely because it's terribly important and we'd rather not have it easily damaged) we have a tendency to file it away out of the physical body category. We sometimes instead conceive of a 'mind', and don't treat that as being in the physical realm.

    I raise this because it seems to me that some people think of "sex" as a physical thing with physical evidence, but "gender" as a mental thing. Which then leads to treating transgenderism as being mental, and interpreting it as a transgender person denying physical reality.

    We're not terribly good at looking at brains yet. As I understand it, much of the research into the brains of transgender people happens after their death thanks to the tragically high suicide rate, and the science tends to indicate that, to the extent there are sex differences in brains, a transgender person's brain will match the sex they report themselves to be.

    When people's body parts don't all match up with the characteristics of one sex, we recognise that as intersex. I tend to think that if we recognised the brain as a body part, being 'transgender' would come to be regarded as a particular example of this.
    Intersex is a thing, but isn't what the articles josephine and I liked to are about.

    Oh okay, so I have to talk about things in your articles?

    I made no reference to articles. I didn't even say "I haven't read the articles".

    In any case, when it comes to Josephine's link, which I've now just looked at, you're wrong. Intersex is quite explicitly discussed.
  • If we're performing gender (Butler, above) does this not mean it's socially constructed? But we're also being told it's biologically based?

    From neuroscience generally we know that living, learning, interacting, emotional responses all change brain functioning, resulting in altered neuronal connections and differences in brain activity: it was brain scans of people who had practiced meditation which showed this many years ago, and repeated multiple times which seemed pretty persuasive about it.

    There seems to be some confusing ideas being suggested.
  • MarsupialMarsupial Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    For what it’s worth, I’m not a fan of the idea that gender is inherently performative and I tend to agree with NP that it’s at odds with the idea of gender identity as something innate that is experienced. We do “perform” gender sometimes - an example would be trying to conform to gender expectations that we’re not comfortable with - but there’s a difference between saying this and saying that gender is inherently performance.

    Butler got criticism from some people in the trans community on this issue. I remember reading an online interview with her a few years ago - I wish I could remember where, maybe in the Chronicle of Higher Education? - where she admitted that some of her ideas didn’t actually seem to apply very well to actual real live trans people.

    Eta: part of the issue here may be ambiguity in what is meant by “gender”, but that’s a whole other issue.
  • CameronCameron Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    Here is a link to a Judith Butler interview that is pertinent (I don’t know if it is the one you were looking for, @Marsupial - but it may be):

    One should be free to determine the course of one’s gendered life

    From the interview:

    “We do not have to agree upon the “origins” of that sense of self to agree that it is ethically obligatory to support and recognize sexed and gendered modes of being that are crucial to a person’s well-being.”
  • orfeo wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »
    To get away from the whole question of who tweeted what and just get back to the basic questions of sex and gender...

    It seems to me that a lot of the problem simply derives from whether or not people consider the brain to be, well, to be a sex organ.

    Or even whether people take the brain into account when thinking about "the body".

    It's terribly important, and yet because it's so hidden away (precisely because it's terribly important and we'd rather not have it easily damaged) we have a tendency to file it away out of the physical body category. We sometimes instead conceive of a 'mind', and don't treat that as being in the physical realm.

    I raise this because it seems to me that some people think of "sex" as a physical thing with physical evidence, but "gender" as a mental thing. Which then leads to treating transgenderism as being mental, and interpreting it as a transgender person denying physical reality.

    We're not terribly good at looking at brains yet. As I understand it, much of the research into the brains of transgender people happens after their death thanks to the tragically high suicide rate, and the science tends to indicate that, to the extent there are sex differences in brains, a transgender person's brain will match the sex they report themselves to be.

    When people's body parts don't all match up with the characteristics of one sex, we recognise that as intersex. I tend to think that if we recognised the brain as a body part, being 'transgender' would come to be regarded as a particular example of this.
    Intersex is a thing, but isn't what the articles josephine and I liked to are about.

    Oh okay, so I have to talk about things in your articles?

    I made no reference to articles. I didn't even say "I haven't read the articles".

    In any case, when it comes to Josephine's link, which I've now just looked at, you're wrong. Intersex is quite explicitly discussed.
    OK, it does discuss intersex. But there is not just male, female and intersex. Not in the way intersex is traditionally thought of, not the way you describe it.
    Another implication is that “biological sex,” in reality, is a spectrum, or maybe even more complicated than a spectrum.
    Whilst it might be bimodal, it is not binary. Nor trinary.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host, Epiphanies Host
    Not sure whether this fits with latest scientific insight, but it might be better to discount the value of columns in a graph (a% straight men , b% straight women, c% gay men, d% gay women etc) in favour of a more dynamic view of sexual and gender identity in individuals.

    And I liked the quote from Cameron's post. I suppose my bottom line has always been the moral imperative to show respect to other people and not pre-judge differences. Better to spend time getting to know, than apply a whole lot of pre-judging baggage to our relationships with others.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Thanks for the link, @Cameron. One of my 'breakthrough' texts to a better understanding has been the first trans and genderqueer anthology of poets in Troubling the Line, which acknowledges Butler's Gender Trouble and offers an eclectic and widely diverse range of positions on the possibilities of becoming, being or performing trans.
  • I suppose the idea of performing gender or "doing gender" appeals to me, as from an early age I had a sense of the artificiality of masculinity. In a working class milieu, this seemed to consist of a variety of roles, emotional attitudes, types of discourse, and so on, that had to be put on. Well, this shows what an uneasy youth I was!

    Incidentally, I don't think it contradicts a view of innate gender, or biological gender.

    Butler's comment stood out for me, it's transphobia that mutilates trans people, not surgery.
  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »
    To get away from the whole question of who tweeted what and just get back to the basic questions of sex and gender...

    It seems to me that a lot of the problem simply derives from whether or not people consider the brain to be, well, to be a sex organ.

    Or even whether people take the brain into account when thinking about "the body".

    It's terribly important, and yet because it's so hidden away (precisely because it's terribly important and we'd rather not have it easily damaged) we have a tendency to file it away out of the physical body category. We sometimes instead conceive of a 'mind', and don't treat that as being in the physical realm.

    I raise this because it seems to me that some people think of "sex" as a physical thing with physical evidence, but "gender" as a mental thing. Which then leads to treating transgenderism as being mental, and interpreting it as a transgender person denying physical reality.

    We're not terribly good at looking at brains yet. As I understand it, much of the research into the brains of transgender people happens after their death thanks to the tragically high suicide rate, and the science tends to indicate that, to the extent there are sex differences in brains, a transgender person's brain will match the sex they report themselves to be.

    When people's body parts don't all match up with the characteristics of one sex, we recognise that as intersex. I tend to think that if we recognised the brain as a body part, being 'transgender' would come to be regarded as a particular example of this.
    Intersex is a thing, but isn't what the articles josephine and I liked to are about.

    Oh okay, so I have to talk about things in your articles?

    I made no reference to articles. I didn't even say "I haven't read the articles".

    In any case, when it comes to Josephine's link, which I've now just looked at, you're wrong. Intersex is quite explicitly discussed.
    OK, it does discuss intersex. But there is not just male, female and intersex. Not in the way intersex is traditionally thought of, not the way you describe it.
    Another implication is that “biological sex,” in reality, is a spectrum, or maybe even more complicated than a spectrum.
    Whilst it might be bimodal, it is not binary. Nor trinary.

    My entire point was to argue that what we think of as intersex ought to be expanded. So if you think I was thinking of it "traditionally" you kind of missed the point.

    I'm also mystified (and frankly slightly exasperated) by this binary/bimodal/trinary business. Sorry, but some things are binary. There are exactly 2 classes of sex chromosome known to human beings. Yes, I'm well aware of the fact that there are more than 2 ways those chromosomes might be combined, but it's perfectly clear that the basic mechanism of how human beings are built is that an egg containing an X chromosome is fertilised by a sperm containing either an X or a Y chromosome, and there are consequences expected to arise from which of those 2 the sperm contains. Everything else that happens is a variation from the basic blueprint. Just as there are unusual variations from other bits of the basic blueprint for a human being.

    And where on earth do you get 'trinary' from? Are you honestly suggesting that anyone thinks of intersex as a separate distinct class rather than describing being intermediate between the two simple cases? It simply describes, collectively, the range of variations from the blueprint, when there is a mix of both male and female aspects.

    Would you like to build any other straw figures to knock down? You seem to be having such fun with that activity.
  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    Addendum: It seems to me, lilbuddha, that you're at such pains to emphasise that there are other cases besides the 2 main ones that you're at risk of losing sight of the reality that they are still the 2 main cases, describing the majority of the population and describing the norm of human development.

    It feels like that's behind the whole "it's not binary" business.

    I make no apologies for talking about the norm, or what's normal. There is a standard, plain, vanilla route of human development.

    Hardly any of us follow it 100% (I myself, for example, turned out homosexual which I would quite happily see as a variation of human sex/sexual development that is not typical, but there are plenty of variations that have nothing to do with sex or sexuality), but one has to head for some kind of idealised fantasyland and a wrong-headed notion of what equality involves to pretend that we can't all recognise that there are common, expected traits of human beings and that departures from them represent unusual cases. We recognise that hands usually have 5 fingers and a certain shape, that there are normally 2 eyes and we know where they are normally located. We know what lips tend to look like, we know how many ribs people usually have, how many chambers a heart 'should' have.

    And we know that people are usually either male or female.

    None of this is a value judgement, it is simply descriptive. The fact that some folks wrongly make it a value judgement is not sufficient reason to start mucking about with the descriptions and pretending that there's something wrong with starting with the typical case of what a human being is first, before describing the unusual cases.

    All I see in your focus on "bimodal, not binary" is an attempt to elevate the importance of the unusual cases, as if you want to have caveats on the explanation of the 2 typical sexes before the explanation has even been given.
  • Cameron wrote: »
    Here is a link to a Judith Butler interview that is pertinent (I don’t know if it is the one you were looking for, @Marsupial - but it may be):

    One should be free to determine the course of one’s gendered life

    From the interview:

    “We do not have to agree upon the “origins” of that sense of self to agree that it is ethically obligatory to support and recognize sexed and gendered modes of being that are crucial to a person’s well-being.”

    Thanks. It wasn’t the article I was thinking of, but it was a helpful read.
  • Thinking again about innateness versus performance, gender identity might be like human abilities such as music and maths, which may be innate. However, I can't just sit in a chair and say, yeah, I'm musical. I have to practise, perform, be taught, and so on. Innateness + learning.
  • @orfeo
    You said this;
    When people's body parts don't all match up with the characteristics of one sex, we recognise that as intersex
    and that doesn't, to me, look like an understanding of how bilogical sex works. I use bimodal because it is a better representation of the data and because it illustrates that one might have the external genitalia and internal feeling match, but still have components that are associated with the opposite gender. This both explains some cases of transgender and calls into question "innate" sexual behaviours.
  • Thinking again about innateness versus performance, gender identity might be like human abilities such as music and maths, which may be innate. However, I can't just sit in a chair and say, yeah, I'm musical. I have to practise, perform, be taught, and so on. Innateness + learning.
    Behaviour in other things is innate plus learned, why would gender not be?
    In other words, one feels like a girl innately and performs to societal expectations of that gender.
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