TERFs, gender, sex, etc.

1235719

Comments

  • 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.

    Yes, as I re-read my earlier post I was reminded that what we think of as gender is more complex than gender identity per se - there’s what I would call “core” gender identity, but also gender expression, gendered behaviours, and possibly other aspects I can’t think of at the moment - and the relationships among these things are complicated, politically fraught, and generally not very well understood.

    But clearly it can make sense to think of gendered behaviours as performative, in the sense that behaviours are inherently something we do. I get worried when I hear “gender is performative” because I think people sometimes mean that as “gender identity is performative”, which I think is wrong.

  • Binary means one or the other. I think the right term is actually bimodal as I noted earlier. Most people are male or female which are the modes. A minority are other than the two modes. Because the two modes of male and female are the most common, it's common to use this either/or as the frame of reference. Saying about gender that "it's not binary" and "it's a spectrum" don't work very well for many people because mostly it is binary and not a spectrum in their experience. I don't know if bimodal with variation in between communicates much better.
  • Saying about gender that "it's not binary" and "it's a spectrum" don't work very well for many people because mostly it is binary and not a spectrum in their experience.

    Which is the ignorance that needs to be overcome. You're right, using "bimodal" might not help to overcome that ignorance (for one thing how many people have enough statistics to know what that means?) but something needs to be done, because the status quo is not acceptable.
  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    @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.

    And what you said is different from what I said, how?

    Apart from you using more words.

    And apart from you taking one part of what I said and ignoring the whole point was that I was giving a really basic example of "intersex" while arguing that we should expand our concept of what intersex means.

    Basically it seems as if you locked on to one sentence that was short and not filled out exhaustively because you didn't see that it wasn't my main point. It was merely the jumping off point.

    And I'm not even on Twitter. Perhaps I need to use all the characters available to me and make the posts even longer essays.
  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    As to the other bits...

    I don't quite see how you can have external genitalia and internal feeling match and be "transgender". You can be gay though, like me. I have male genitalia, I feel male, and I have a component that tends to be associated with women, an attraction to men.

    And I certainly don't understand why we're talking about innate sexual behaviours now. You'll have to explain that one.
  • orfeo wrote: »
    As to the other bits...

    I don't quite see how you can have external genitalia and internal feeling match and be "transgender".
    I didn't say transgender, I said:
    but still have components that are associated with the opposite gender
    Chromosomes. gene expression, hormones, etc.



  • orfeo wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    @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.

    And what you said is different from what I said, how?
    When people talk about body parts matching up, they are generally talking about the wobbly bits. If you meant to include chromosomes, hormones and genetic expression, then we are closer to agreement.

  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    @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.

    And what you said is different from what I said, how?
    When people talk about body parts matching up, they are generally talking about the wobbly bits. If you meant to include chromosomes, hormones and genetic expression, then we are closer to agreement.

    If by "body parts" one means to include chromosomes, hormones, and genetic expression, one needs a new dictionary.
  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    Body parts meant all body parts.
  • I have never heard a chromosome called a body part. Since they're in every single cell, and not just in one part of the body. Seems a really bizarre use of the term.
  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    I have never heard a chromosome called a body part. Since they're in every single cell, and not just in one part of the body. Seems a really bizarre use of the term.

    Yeah well, given that I referred to body parts and it was lilbuddha, not me, who referred to chromosomes, I don't know what to tell you.
  • Clearly you don't.
  • I have been ruminating on this phrase (from the judgement above):
    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.

    It seems to me that the question at heart is about whether the things trans people say about themselves is "worthy of respect in democratic society".

    Which is a bit of an odd concept to my ears. If we accept the suggestion that trans itself has no biological or chromosomal (or anything else) basis that can be measured (which appears to be radical feminist position), is it then a life philosophy worthy of respect?

    I suppose one might consider the impacts of preventing trans people from living as trans, their extreme outsider status, their sincerity, hardship, and so on.

    Perhaps we would also consider the wider impacts on democratic society. Apart from the design of toilet blocks and possible impacts on elite athletes, it is quite hard to see much of an impact even on those who see it as a delusional philosophy mistakenly held.

    Doing the same exercise on feminism as a philosophy gets to almost the same place. However the difference appears to be about the negative impacts on trans people of the philosophy.

    Which is a bit of an uncomfortable thought; on that basis many different structures and organisations within society could presumably also not be considered worthy of respect.
  • @Blahblah

    I read the ‘worthy of respect in a democratic society’ element to follow from the first four conditions for a belief to be protected, quoted by @BroJames - namely, that it:
    - 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)

    The conditions that the. follow ‘worthy of respect’ prevent a belief from being protected if it interferes with someone else’s dignity or rights. I am not sure ‘measurement’ needs to come into the discussion at all, and how would it do so in relation to the protected characteristic of religion?

    Moreover, I agree with the Judith Butler quote I posted and linked above about the lack of need for clear causes - which, incidentally, also demonstrates that feminism per se is not necessarily transphobic, so I think you need to be less sweeping about that. Here’s the quotation again:

    “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”
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Chromosomes. gene expression, hormones, etc.
    The article that you linked to showed that hormones have no bearing on biological sex.

  • BlahblahBlahblah Suspended
    edited December 2019
    Well. I'm at the edge of my legal understanding here, but I think the point is that under the law being discussed, there are certain protected characteristics which one cannot be discriminated against. So you can't, for example, be discriminated against because of your skin colour.

    One of those, as I understand it, is belief in "a philosophy".

    So I believe the applicant was claiming that her anti-trans views were her philosophy and therefore protected.

    If she'd claimed it was her "religion" presumably she would have had to statisfy a different set of criteria.

    --

    I suspect the law was written in this way to protect trade unionists. I'm guessing at some point employers tried to get rid of them on the basis that they were dangerous socialists and the law was re-written to prevent such broad-brush discrimination without at the same time offering protection to neo-Nazis.
  • And I don't think I was being sweeping.

    Early in this thread I said that
    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.

    And in the post above I said that this appeared to be the position of radical feminists.

    At no point did I mean to suggest it was the position of all feminists, which I clearly don't believe, just those who apparently have a strongly anti-trans position.
  • RussRuss Shipmate
    Most people are male or female which are the modes. A minority are other than the two modes.

    You're right - in common usage, we do indeed say that people are male or female. And this works for the vast majority of the population.

    In order to discuss the various minority possibilities, we need a more precise vocabulary. The emerging terminology here (writers elsewhere may use words differently) seems to be to distinguish:
    - gender identity - whether a person subjectively identifies as masculine or feminine (or male or female ?)
    - gender performance - whether a person displays behaviours considered masculine or feminine, which is a combination of culture with the outworkings of sex-related hormones in the body
    - sex - reproductive functionality

    In this sense, sex is binary, and both aspects of gender are a spectrum.

    I don't know how clear or adequate you find that terminology. It's not for me or anyone else to impose vocabulary. I'm open to alternatives.

    But trying to condense the complexities into a single dimension of maleness / femaleness, however you describe it, seems like a recipe for misunderstanding. We're not going to achieve effective communication at that level. Trying to say that people with different combinations of the three elements are "more male" or "more female" than each other doesn't seem useful.

  • The radfem idea that trans has no biological basis, is supposition. It's early days in terms of research.
  • BlahblahBlahblah Suspended
    edited December 2019
    A few years ago I experienced the following tricky problem.

    A large gathering was trying to consider how it made provision (and, in fact, encourage the participation of) minorities.

    So it was decided to ask participants to fill in a survey.

    Subsequently there was a fair amount of upset. Why? Well, because the survey indicated that there were zero trans people at the conference. A wider survey of people who might go to the conference drawn from the specialist community showed extremely low numbers of trans people. Some were using these results as a reason to dismiss efforts to positively include trans people on the basis that it wasn't an issue in that community.

    The problem is that the survey design was inadequate. Which was a source of embarrassment to this science-y community which had thought that this was trying to do the right thing.

    The problem in essence was that the prevalence of trans people is relatively small. Small enough, in fact, to be within the margin of error of a voluntary survey.

    But it is a mistake to think that because you can't measure it (for various reasons) that these people don't exist.

    In practice, making efforts first to include people has shown that there are a small percentage within the community. A small group who felt particularly aggrieved when the survey suggested they didn't exist.

    Based on this experience, the gathering is considering how to make arrangements to include other minorities they can't measure but know exist, including blind people.

    The moral of the story being that just because people "normally" are one thing or another does not therefore mean that one should exclude a relatively small group who are neither. Even if you can't measure the numbers very well.
  • Blahblah wrote: »
    Well. I'm at the edge of my legal understanding here, but I think the point is that under the law being discussed, there are certain protected characteristics which one cannot be discriminated against. So you can't, for example, be discriminated against because of your skin colour.

    One of those, as I understand it, is belief in "a philosophy".

    This appears to be a case arguing the same legal point with regard to someone being a radical vegan. It will be interesting to follow what happens.

    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/dec/29/ethical-vegan-jordi-casamitjana-protected-status-court-tribunal
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    Blahblah wrote: »
    This appears to be a case arguing the same legal point with regard to someone being a radical vegan.
    I think veganism ought to be a protected characteristic. However, I don't believe being an arsehole is.
    If a Christian were to insist on evangelising to their co-workers or on providing them with unsolicited and unqualified pensions advice I don't think the protected status of Christianity would or should cover that. No more should veganism.
    (I think disclosing ethically relevant aspects of your employer's pension arrangements to other employees should be legal for all employees though regardless of any protected characteristic.)

  • Veganism is a choice. Christianity is a choice. Trans is not.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    .

  • Some belief systems infringe on the rights of others. Certain religious beliefs for example. Veganism, atheism, and Christianity do in some circumstances. It's the cost of accommodation to such beliefs that's an issue.
  • I'm not sure how atheism or veganism infringe on the rights of others. In the UK and the US, Christianity most certainly has.
  • Blahblah wrote: »
    So I believe the applicant was claiming that her anti-trans views were her philosophy and therefore protected.

    If she'd claimed it was her "religion" presumably she would have had to statisfy a different set of criteria.

    No. Belief covers both religious and non-religious beliefs. Hence my point about a lack of measurable criteria as the basis for a belief not being a workable or relevant issue.

    In any case, under the Act, being trans is not protected as a belief. It is protected on the basis of being an ontological state.

    ———

    In relation to feminism and transphobia:
    Blahblah wrote: »
    And in the post above I said that this appeared to be the position of radical feminists.

    You also wrote this:
    Blahblah wrote: »
    Doing the same exercise on feminism as a philosophy gets to almost the same place. However the difference appears to be about the negative impacts on trans people of the philosophy.

    I’m glad that you did not mean to tar all feminists with the same brush, but the second statement, quoted from your post, does not have any qualifiers.


  • Random: funnily enough, my sister is a vegan TERF. Based on that, one could argue she cares more about animals' feelings than trans humans' feelings.
  • Not credibly.
  • Blahblah wrote: »
    A few years ago I experienced the following tricky problem.

    A large gathering was trying to consider how it made provision (and, in fact, encourage the participation of) minorities.

    So it was decided to ask participants to fill in a survey.

    Subsequently there was a fair amount of upset. Why? Well, because the survey indicated that there were zero trans people at the conference. A wider survey of people who might go to the conference drawn from the specialist community showed extremely low numbers of trans people. Some were using these results as a reason to dismiss efforts to positively include trans people on the basis that it wasn't an issue in that community.

    The problem is that the survey design was inadequate. Which was a source of embarrassment to this science-y community which had thought that this was trying to do the right thing.

    The problem in essence was that the prevalence of trans people is relatively small. Small enough, in fact, to be within the margin of error of a voluntary survey.

    But it is a mistake to think that because you can't measure it (for various reasons) that these people don't exist.

    In practice, making efforts first to include people has shown that there are a small percentage within the community. A small group who felt particularly aggrieved when the survey suggested they didn't exist.

    Based on this experience, the gathering is considering how to make arrangements to include other minorities they can't measure but know exist, including blind people.

    The moral of the story being that just because people "normally" are one thing or another does not therefore mean that one should exclude a relatively small group who are neither. Even if you can't measure the numbers very well.

    This brings to mind the old story about the business that had no wheelchair-using employees or customers. So they didn't bother to make their buildings wheelchair friendly. Or the person who is volubly nasty about gay people, who has no gay friends or coworkers or even acquaintances. Chicken, meet egg. Egg, meet chicken.
  • Cameron wrote: »
    Blahblah wrote: »
    So I believe the applicant was claiming that her anti-trans views were her philosophy and therefore protected.

    If she'd claimed it was her "religion" presumably she would have had to statisfy a different set of criteria.

    No. Belief covers both religious and non-religious beliefs. Hence my point about a lack of measurable criteria as the basis for a belief not being a workable or relevant issue.

    In any case, under the Act, being trans is not protected as a belief. It is protected on the basis of being an ontological state.

    ———

    In relation to feminism and transphobia:
    Blahblah wrote: »
    And in the post above I said that this appeared to be the position of radical feminists.

    You also wrote this:
    Blahblah wrote: »
    Doing the same exercise on feminism as a philosophy gets to almost the same place. However the difference appears to be about the negative impacts on trans people of the philosophy.

    I’m glad that you did not mean to tar all feminists with the same brush, but the second statement, quoted from your post, does not have any qualifiers.


    I'm very sorry that I was insufficently clear of the qualifiers I had in mind in that post.

    In fairness, I don't think anyone else habitually posts them either. I do try to make posts that generally make sense and agree with each other but whilst acknowledging the truth of your criticism, it does seem a little extreme.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    Blahblah wrote: »
    A few years ago I experienced the following tricky problem.

    A large gathering was trying to consider how it made provision (and, in fact, encourage the participation of) minorities.

    So it was decided to ask participants to fill in a survey.

    Subsequently there was a fair amount of upset. Why? Well, because the survey indicated that there were zero trans people at the conference. A wider survey of people who might go to the conference drawn from the specialist community showed extremely low numbers of trans people. Some were using these results as a reason to dismiss efforts to positively include trans people on the basis that it wasn't an issue in that community.

    The problem is that the survey design was inadequate. Which was a source of embarrassment to this science-y community which had thought that this was trying to do the right thing.

    The problem in essence was that the prevalence of trans people is relatively small. Small enough, in fact, to be within the margin of error of a voluntary survey.

    But it is a mistake to think that because you can't measure it (for various reasons) that these people don't exist.

    In practice, making efforts first to include people has shown that there are a small percentage within the community. A small group who felt particularly aggrieved when the survey suggested they didn't exist.

    Based on this experience, the gathering is considering how to make arrangements to include other minorities they can't measure but know exist, including blind people.

    The moral of the story being that just because people "normally" are one thing or another does not therefore mean that one should exclude a relatively small group who are neither. Even if you can't measure the numbers very well.

    This brings to mind the old story about the business that had no wheelchair-using employees or customers. So they didn't bother to make their buildings wheelchair friendly. Or the person who is volubly nasty about gay people, who has no gay friends or coworkers or even acquaintances. Chicken, meet egg. Egg, meet chicken.

    I'm pleased to say that despite some huffing and puffing opposition, the community is generally accepting of trans and other minorities. And after some additional effort (including, you know, asking some trans people about it) the gathering is generally considered a safe space.
  • edited December 2019
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Veganism is a choice. Christianity is a choice. Trans is not.

    Is there one type of trans person only? Is there one type of non-trans person only? To revert the language to conventional terms: I'd suggest that there is not one type of man and not one type of woman. We're also told that some people who are not of the 2 statistical modes find themselves non male, non female, not trans, some others use the term "gender fluid". Thus I think your statement is too precise.
    The radfem idea that trans has no biological basis, is supposition. It's early days in terms of research.
    Most of what we're discussing isn't researchable. It's mostly reasoned argumentation. We don't find biological basis for sexual preference either, we find that some people have attractions to varieties of other people and we don't find systematically convincing differences. We find people who are well adjusted. There isn't any genes or structures associated with most human adjustment, personality, lifestyle. We also know that human societies cause structural brain and behavioural changes: genes aren't exclusively determinative, some are interactive with experiences.

    Thus I don't think research is what will help. We're taking about human rights and what rights are worth advancing. Our current zeitgeist is to advance individual rights to self expression and determination of the self. Except in certain specific instances, mostly about harm to others or things which offend some generally ill-defined community standards, mostly as set by older rich men.

    The area of this discussion within general society most concerning to me is developmental for children. I don't think most understanding reflects the knowledge of how social identities develop and how they reflect back to the individual who they are, when children are young.
  • mostly as set by older rich white men.

    Fixed that for you.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    The radfem idea that trans has no biological basis, is supposition. It's early days in terms of research.

    And does a lack of a biological basis matter in any event?
  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    Ahem. There IS evidence of genes linked to sexuality actually.

    And there are plenty of personality traits in general that are considered to have a genetic component.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Orfeo, given that there is evidence in regard to sexuality (no idea how strong that may be, nor how general), I'd repeat my question - how does that affect matters? Does the evidence to which you refer go beyond sexuality to gender identification?
  • Gee D wrote: »
    The radfem idea that trans has no biological basis, is supposition. It's early days in terms of research.

    And does a lack of a biological basis matter in any event?

    Well, good question. I think some trans people actually don't want scientific investigation, as it might divide people up into real trans and non-real. However, I think it's bound to happen, as there are plenty of researchers in endocrinology, brain sciences, etc., who are curious about gender identity. I noticed a report on trans kids, saying that they seem similar to kids of the same gender. However, it's early days.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    mostly as set by older rich white men.

    Fixed that for you.

    No you did not. India. China. Middle Eastern countries. It's not race. It's older wealthy men.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    mostly as set by older rich white men.

    Fixed that for you.

    No you did not. India. China. Middle Eastern countries. It's not race. It's older wealthy men.
    In western societies it is white men. In India and China, "race" matters as well. In India, lightness is an advantage; so older, rich, white(ish) men is a fair descriptor there as well.
  • Gee D wrote: »
    The radfem idea that trans has no biological basis, is supposition. It's early days in terms of research.

    And does a lack of a biological basis matter in any event?

    Well, good question. I think some trans people actually don't want scientific investigation, as it might divide people up into real trans and non-real. However, I think it's bound to happen, as there are plenty of researchers in endocrinology, brain sciences, etc., who are curious about gender identity. I noticed a report on trans kids, saying that they seem similar to kids of the same gender. However, it's early days.
    It shouldn't matter if someone "chooses" to be trans or just is. However, more and more, science is showing that sex and gender both are biological.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    It shouldn't matter if someone "chooses" to be trans or just is.

    It shouldn't, but it often does. To people who start with the viewpoint that being trans (or gay - the argument works the same way) is a moral wrong, it does matter.

    It matters to most people whether someone is prone to shouting out swear words because they suffer from Tourette syndrome, or because they are an objectionable little oik. The people in the first case get sympathy, those in the second get ASBOs.

    Similarly, to those who start with the viewpoint that trans or gay is morally wrong, if it's something you're born with, and can't choose, then you can't really be blamed for it. If you're choosing to be a moral degenerate off your own bat, then blaming you is fair game.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    It shouldn't matter if someone "chooses" to be trans or just is.

    It shouldn't, but it often does. To people who start with the viewpoint that being trans (or gay - the argument works the same way) is a moral wrong, it does matter.

    It matters to most people whether someone is prone to shouting out swear words because they suffer from Tourette syndrome, or because they are an objectionable little oik. The people in the first case get sympathy, those in the second get ASBOs.

    Similarly, to those who start with the viewpoint that trans or gay is morally wrong, if it's something you're born with, and can't choose, then you can't really be blamed for it. If you're choosing to be a moral degenerate off your own bat, then blaming you is fair game.
    People will find blame regardless. Like the be gay, but don't do gay sort of Christianity.

  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    edited December 2019
    I won’t attempt to speak for other faiths, but with Christianity there both is and is not choice.

    If you believe that it is true, then you can choose whether to accept or to reject the invitation to discipleship - to ‘believe in’ rather than simply ’believing’.

    It doesn’t, however, seem to me to be correct to say that you can choose, subjectively, to believe (or not) that it is true.

    I think there may be some mapping there to the trans experience, but others will know better.
  • Race
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Gee D wrote: »
    The radfem idea that trans has no biological basis, is supposition. It's early days in terms of research.

    And does a lack of a biological basis matter in any event?

    Well, good question. I think some trans people actually don't want scientific investigation, as it might divide people up into real trans and non-real. However, I think it's bound to happen, as there are plenty of researchers in endocrinology, brain sciences, etc., who are curious about gender identity. I noticed a report on trans kids, saying that they seem similar to kids of the same gender. However, it's early days.
    It shouldn't matter if someone "chooses" to be trans or just is. However, more and more, science is showing that sex and gender both are biological.

    That doesn’t make sense, if gender is a social construct.

    It’s like saying crime or tennis ability are genetically hardwired. You can have genetically poor impulse control, or a lot of fast twitch muscle fibre - you can’t have genetically determined backhand. You have to learn that.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    The radfem idea that trans has no biological basis, is supposition. It's early days in terms of research.

    And does a lack of a biological basis matter in any event?

    Well, good question. I think some trans people actually don't want scientific investigation, as it might divide people up into real trans and non-real. However, I think it's bound to happen, as there are plenty of researchers in endocrinology, brain sciences, etc., who are curious about gender identity. I noticed a report on trans kids, saying that they seem similar to kids of the same gender. However, it's early days.

    And other problems beyond real trans and non-real arise. What is done with that knowledge, particularly if it comes from a pre-natal check?
  • LouiseLouise Epiphanies Host
    hosting
    Could people please stop the tangent about the nature of religious belief? That could be discussed in Purgatory on its own thread but it's starting to take us away from the main subject here.

    Thanks,
    Louise
    Epiphanies Host
    hosting off
  • Race
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Gee D wrote: »
    The radfem idea that trans has no biological basis, is supposition. It's early days in terms of research.

    And does a lack of a biological basis matter in any event?

    Well, good question. I think some trans people actually don't want scientific investigation, as it might divide people up into real trans and non-real. However, I think it's bound to happen, as there are plenty of researchers in endocrinology, brain sciences, etc., who are curious about gender identity. I noticed a report on trans kids, saying that they seem similar to kids of the same gender. However, it's early days.
    It shouldn't matter if someone "chooses" to be trans or just is. However, more and more, science is showing that sex and gender both are biological.

    That doesn’t make sense, if gender is a social construct.

    It’s like saying crime or tennis ability are genetically hardwired. You can have genetically poor impulse control, or a lot of fast twitch muscle fibre - you can’t have genetically determined backhand. You have to learn that.
    Gender appears to be both biological and social construct. Pick a stereotype behaviour and I've seen gay people do it. Those behaviours are not born into a person. It doesn't mean that they are not born gay, however.
  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    Orfeo, given that there is evidence in regard to sexuality (no idea how strong that may be, nor how general), I'd repeat my question - how does that affect matters? Does the evidence to which you refer go beyond sexuality to gender identification?

    I previously referred to evidence from post mortems of transgender people suggesting that yes, their gender identification has a biological basis in their brain. Presumably that was lost in the lecture I got about what "intersex" means *rolls eyes*.

    As to how that affects matters, well it gets into fairly basic questions about the nature of reality, doesn't it? We've had a case not that many years ago of a woman who decided to identify as black despite there being no objective basis in her family tree for that. Even more bizarrely, within the last couple of years there was a man who complained of ageism because he 'identified' as being several decades younger than he actually is.

    I think it's fairly fundamental to ask the degree to which we allow people to purely construct their own reality, as opposed to us all having a mutually shared and observable reality. There's a difference between things that exist although we don't have the tools to readily observe them, and things that simply don't have an existence that would ever be observable even with better tools.

    When it comes to transgender people I'm inclined to believe their own self-identification. But that word "believe" is different to saying that oh well, people can just make up whatever stuff they're inclined to make up and everyone else just has to accept it. If someone decides they're actually a human-salmon hybrid, just go with it, in the complete absence of any evidence that they genuinely have salmon characteristics? No. I don't think self-determination goes that far.

    I believe transgender people when they self-identify because I consider that it's not an identity they've chosen to construct, but it's real. If I could peer into their brains I would see it. For one thing, I don't think anyone would choose to just make up a transgender identity because it's no fun whatsoever (just as the whole notion of choosing to be gay presupposes that I'm some kind of masochist who wanted all the complications).

    But if it IS something that people just decide upon... then why the hell should all the rest of us accept it? If you insist that you're a 5 foot tall West African woman, and I can see damn well that you're not according to all observable data, what exactly is the benefit of me agreeing with you?

    I think it matters a great deal to say that transgender folk are not just making shit up, if we want the rest of the world to take them seriously and treat them well.
  • Louise wrote: »
    hosting
    Could people please stop the tangent about the nature of religious belief? That could be discussed in Purgatory on its own thread but it's starting to take us away from the main subject here.

    Thanks,
    Louise
    Epiphanies Host
    hosting off

    I've requested in Styx to have the relevant posts calved off into a new thread.
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