TERFs, gender, sex, etc.

1101113151619

Comments

  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    If we just say "women", by the same logic, transmen are thrown under the bus. There seems to be an underlying assumption that they will "know" that they are "really" women. And that is what is anti-trans.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    quantpole wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    quantpole wrote: »
    It sounds old-fashioned to me, I am defined by my womb.

    What do you think is old fashioned? The feminist argument is that women have suffered and continue to suffer inequality with men.
    How does recognising transwomen as women change that? Transwomen are treated worse than assigned at birth women.

    And if a person doesn't know what a cervix is and who has one, then the problem is not the terminology, but the basic sex education.

    I didn't say they weren't treated worse. It's not a competition as to who is most oppressed.

    And yes, plenty of women will not have had great sex education, or due to religious reasons are not allowed it. But it's ok to throw them under the bus?

    Not at all throwing anyone under a bus, I’m pointing out where the problem is.
  • MarsupialMarsupial Shipmate
    KarlLB wrote: »
    If we just say "women", by the same logic, transmen are thrown under the bus. There seems to be an underlying assumption that they will "know" that they are "really" women. And that is what is anti-trans.

    Yes - the "people with a cervix" language that seems have generated so much outrage in certain quarters of the Internet seems to aimed at including trans men.

    I don't think I've seen anyone seriously suggest that we can't talk about women's health simply because not all aspects of women's health apply to all women. Or vice-versa, for that matter. But in targeting specific issues you may want to be more specific.

    And needless to say many aspects of feminism - ending discrimination, harassment, and violence against women - apply with equal force to cisgender and trans women.
  • quantpolequantpole Shipmate
    KarlLB wrote: »
    If we just say "women", by the same logic, transmen are thrown under the bus. There seems to be an underlying assumption that they will "know" that they are "really" women. And that is what is anti-trans.

    There are other formations that could be used. Such as, "If you are a woman, or someone who has a cervix". No doubt some would argue that that too is 'anti-trans', and I'm pretty sure some people on the other side would still not be happy about it either. I've been accused of biological essentialism, whereas there seem to be some who want to divorce any biological reference when talking about women, and that is dangerous and would lead to women being harmed as a result.

    Trans healthcare is something that by necessity will often require additional care because of the procedures and drugs that people may take. e.g. a trans man should be aware of the effect that testosterone could have on their bodies, and it is not 'anti-trans' to say so, quite the opposite.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    But ""If you are a woman, or someone who has a cervix" is inaccurate as not all women have one.
  • quantpolequantpole Shipmate
    edited March 10
    What's your solution then? Just say "people with a cervix" and blame sex educators/families/religion etc if some women don't realise that includes them. Nevermind the women affected eh?

    People love to talk about how feminism needs to be intersectional, but it seems in some people's mind that intersectionalism only applies to some groups.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited March 10
    Cis-women and trans-men covers the bases.

    But you're going to complain that not everyone knows what cis- means.

    What is interesting here is that you seem to be angry at people trying to solve a real problem. Your solution seems to be "just say women", and while at the same time complaining that alternative might lead to some people not realising they're in the target group, ignoring or not caring that "women" doesn't accurately describe it either. You say "never mind about the women affected", but all solutions have this same problem.
  • It also becomes incoherent. I spent quite a time going through Suzanne Moore's original article (she has a new one today), but it becomes impossible to chase all the non sequiturs and conflations, so I gave up.

    Also, a focus on biology involves genitals, chromosomes, and so on. Is this how people interact? My working hypothesis, when I was involved in gender studies, was that we operate via self-presentation, (Selbstdarstellung in German), and this connects with the idea of gender as drag. But gender identity is different again.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    Cis-women and trans-men covers the bases.

    But you're going to complain that not everyone knows what cis- means.

    What is interesting here is that you seem to be angry at people trying to solve a real problem. Your solution seems to be "just say women", and while at the same time complaining that alternative might lead to some people not realising they're in the target group, ignoring or not caring that "women" doesn't accurately describe it either. You say "never mind about the women affected", but all solutions have this same problem.

    I suspect that trans people are rather more aware of what bodily parts they have than cis people. I suspect that trans men all know that some "women's health" issues might affect them, but what they are looking for is an acknowledgement of their maleness - not feeling like they're being told that they are "really women" or something.

    On the flip side, there are some TERFy types who know full well what all the possible bits of language mean, and are being awkward. I don't care so much about those people.

    But there are also a large number of women - perhaps poorly educated, or immigrants with poor English, for whom talk about "people with a uterus" is utterly confusing, and cis-women isn't much better.

    We have two classes of problem here - we have the need to reach women who are poorly-educated or have poor English, and need plain simple language to be able to understand what's going on, and we have a need not to offend trans people (who know perfectly well whether or not the information applies to them, but need the caveats because trans men don't want to be told that they are in any sense women). I have no idea whether trans women feel the need to be told that this women's health issue doesn't apply to them because they haven't got a uterus.

    I'd think the solution would be to have the large print talk about "women", and the small print talk about how this also applies to trans men and probably doesn't apply to trans women. Or have separate posters addressing women and addressing trans men, and accept that there are some women that don't have the bits because they are trans women.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Cis-women and trans-men covers the bases.

    But you're going to complain that not everyone knows what cis- means.

    What is interesting here is that you seem to be angry at people trying to solve a real problem. Your solution seems to be "just say women", and while at the same time complaining that alternative might lead to some people not realising they're in the target group, ignoring or not caring that "women" doesn't accurately describe it either. You say "never mind about the women affected", but all solutions have this same problem.

    I suspect that trans people are rather more aware of what bodily parts they have than cis people. I suspect that trans men all know that some "women's health" issues might affect them, but what they are looking for is an acknowledgement of their maleness - not feeling like they're being told that they are "really women" or something.

    On the flip side, there are some TERFy types who know full well what all the possible bits of language mean, and are being awkward. I don't care so much about those people.

    But there are also a large number of women - perhaps poorly educated, or immigrants with poor English, for whom talk about "people with a uterus" is utterly confusing, and cis-women isn't much better.

    We have two classes of problem here - we have the need to reach women who are poorly-educated or have poor English, and need plain simple language to be able to understand what's going on, and we have a need not to offend trans people (who know perfectly well whether or not the information applies to them, but need the caveats because trans men don't want to be told that they are in any sense women). I have no idea whether trans women feel the need to be told that this women's health issue doesn't apply to them because they haven't got a uterus.

    I'd think the solution would be to have the large print talk about "women", and the small print talk about how this also applies to trans men and probably doesn't apply to trans women. Or have separate posters addressing women and addressing trans men, and accept that there are some women that don't have the bits because they are trans women.
    Education is a large part of the solution. TERFs are not interested in education as a solution. The irony is that most TERF activists will be educated themselves, but educating others is not of benefit to their purpose.
  • Are you a TERF? Then how can you speak for them?
  • MarsupialMarsupial Shipmate
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Cis-women and trans-men covers the bases.

    But you're going to complain that not everyone knows what cis- means.

    What is interesting here is that you seem to be angry at people trying to solve a real problem. Your solution seems to be "just say women", and while at the same time complaining that alternative might lead to some people not realising they're in the target group, ignoring or not caring that "women" doesn't accurately describe it either. You say "never mind about the women affected", but all solutions have this same problem.

    I suspect that trans people are rather more aware of what bodily parts they have than cis people. I suspect that trans men all know that some "women's health" issues might affect them, but what they are looking for is an acknowledgement of their maleness - not feeling like they're being told that they are "really women" or something.

    On the flip side, there are some TERFy types who know full well what all the possible bits of language mean, and are being awkward. I don't care so much about those people.

    But there are also a large number of women - perhaps poorly educated, or immigrants with poor English, for whom talk about "people with a uterus" is utterly confusing, and cis-women isn't much better.

    We have two classes of problem here - we have the need to reach women who are poorly-educated or have poor English, and need plain simple language to be able to understand what's going on, and we have a need not to offend trans people (who know perfectly well whether or not the information applies to them, but need the caveats because trans men don't want to be told that they are in any sense women). I have no idea whether trans women feel the need to be told that this women's health issue doesn't apply to them because they haven't got a uterus.

    I'd think the solution would be to have the large print talk about "women", and the small print talk about how this also applies to trans men and probably doesn't apply to trans women. Or have separate posters addressing women and addressing trans men, and accept that there are some women that don't have the bits because they are trans women.

    I agree there can be a tension between simplicity and inclusion/precision in these kinds of things, and sometimes you may have to sacrifice the latter for the former’s sake. I don’t know if this is necessarily one of these cases - I suppose the question is how many people there are who might have understood and acted on the advice but failed to do so because of the way the advice was worded.

    Next year’s census in Canada is going to attempt to incorporate gender identity into its data collection on sex/gender. It would be very interesting to have reliable data on this, but I think they’re potentially looking at some serious data quality issues unless they ask the questions very carefully.

  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Cis-women and trans-men covers the bases.

    But you're going to complain that not everyone knows what cis- means.

    What is interesting here is that you seem to be angry at people trying to solve a real problem. Your solution seems to be "just say women", and while at the same time complaining that alternative might lead to some people not realising they're in the target group, ignoring or not caring that "women" doesn't accurately describe it either. You say "never mind about the women affected", but all solutions have this same problem.

    I suspect that trans people are rather more aware of what bodily parts they have than cis people. I suspect that trans men all know that some "women's health" issues might affect them, but what they are looking for is an acknowledgement of their maleness - not feeling like they're being told that they are "really women" or something.

    On the flip side, there are some TERFy types who know full well what all the possible bits of language mean, and are being awkward. I don't care so much about those people.

    But there are also a large number of women - perhaps poorly educated, or immigrants with poor English, for whom talk about "people with a uterus" is utterly confusing, and cis-women isn't much better.

    We have two classes of problem here - we have the need to reach women who are poorly-educated or have poor English, and need plain simple language to be able to understand what's going on, and we have a need not to offend trans people (who know perfectly well whether or not the information applies to them, but need the caveats because trans men don't want to be told that they are in any sense women). I have no idea whether trans women feel the need to be told that this women's health issue doesn't apply to them because they haven't got a uterus.

    I'd think the solution would be to have the large print talk about "women", and the small print talk about how this also applies to trans men and probably doesn't apply to trans women. Or have separate posters addressing women and addressing trans men, and accept that there are some women that don't have the bits because they are trans women.
    Education is a large part of the solution. TERFs are not interested in education as a solution. The irony is that most TERF activists will be educated themselves, but educating others is not of benefit to their purpose.

    Your response is not about education actually. It is about the assumption that providing
    some particular information will change how someone thinks and feels about something. There's an assumption that it will persuade, with the people receiving the information being assumed to accept the declaration of its factuality. This highlights that it is received as information and opinion, not as fact or truth.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    Yeah, my bad. Prejudice rarely listens to factual counters.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Yeah, my bad. Prejudice rarely listens to factual counters.
    Not quite. Your response again makes an assumption. There's a reason that people repeat "transwomen are women" and similar. Because the factuality of it is up for debate. Some will accept it as a factual position, and others will consider it a statement designed to persuade.

    It might be possible to persuade people to agree with you by calling them prejudiced, TERF or other things. But I've not seen data to say this works for this or any other issue.

    I had someone say to me that the language of "assigned at birth" is actually not what happens, it's sex as observed at birth. I wondered what they meant by pointing out this language. Their discussion turned to the not knowing the biological sex of a child until the child was born, and the anouncement of "it's a girl/boy!" in the delivery suite.

    I'm making two points here: that what is provided as information may be taken as an opinion, and second, that people may object to the choices of words and recognize them as persuasion, along the lines of advertising an ideological perspective. Thus, it is probably not taken as education, and they won't agree that their views are prejudiced or otherwise discriminatory.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate

    I had someone say to me that the language of "assigned at birth" is actually not what happens, it's sex as observed at birth. I wondered what they meant by pointing out this language. Their discussion turned to the not knowing the biological sex of a child until the child was born, and the anouncement of "it's a girl/boy!" in the delivery suite.

    There are a few cases where what is observed at birth is ambiguous.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    edited March 10
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Yeah, my bad. Prejudice rarely listens to factual counters.
    Not quite. Your response again makes an assumption. There's a reason that people repeat "transwomen are women" and similar. Because the factuality of it is up for debate. Some will accept it as a factual position, and others will consider it a statement designed to persuade.

    It might be possible to persuade people to agree with you by calling them prejudiced, TERF or other things. But I've not seen data to say this works for this or any other issue.

    I had someone say to me that the language of "assigned at birth" is actually not what happens, it's sex as observed at birth. I wondered what they meant by pointing out this language. Their discussion turned to the not knowing the biological sex of a child until the child was born, and the anouncement of "it's a girl/boy!" in the delivery suite.

    I'm making two points here: that what is provided as information may be taken as an opinion, and second, that people may object to the choices of words and recognize them as persuasion, along the lines of advertising an ideological perspective. Thus, it is probably not taken as education, and they won't agree that their views are prejudiced or otherwise discriminatory.
    One can debate anything. One could debate the flatness of the earth, but it doesn’t change the actual shape of it.
    Science is more and more supporting trans as real.
    Statistics support trans women not being a threat to Cis-women.
    There is nothing supporting the TERF position except irrational fear and prejudice.
    Assigned works better than observed unless one has already decided trans isn’t real.
  • quantpolequantpole Shipmate
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Cis-women and trans-men covers the bases.

    But you're going to complain that not everyone knows what cis- means.

    What is interesting here is that you seem to be angry at people trying to solve a real problem. Your solution seems to be "just say women", and while at the same time complaining that alternative might lead to some people not realising they're in the target group, ignoring or not caring that "women" doesn't accurately describe it either. You say "never mind about the women affected", but all solutions have this same problem.

    I gave a solution that wasn't "just say women" it just wasn't a solution you liked. I think Learning Cniht covered most of the bases. You seem to be more concerned about potentially triggering someone's gender dysphoria than ensuring women know they should be checked.
  • quantpolequantpole Shipmate
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Assigned works better than observed unless one has already decided trans isn’t real.

    Assigned only works in the case of people with DSDs. Otherwise sex is observed at birth. Unless you're conflating sex and gender of course.
    lilbuddha wrote:
    Science is more and more supporting trans as real.

    What do you even mean by that? The vast majority of people, including most of those you deride as TERFs, don't doubt that gender dysphoria is real.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Assigned works better than observed unless one has already decided trans isn’t real.

    If someone is wanting language that is neutral on whether or not trans is real - well, good luck with that.

    "Assigned" isn't neutral, because it implies that sex isn't driven by biology, but is somehow assignable. To the biological determinist, it makes no more sense to talk about "assigning" sex than it does to talk about "assigning" blood type or height.

    If you want neutral language, I think about the closest you can get might be "recorded at birth" because it is a mere statement of fact. A child was born. Somebody recorded the sex of the child on a birth certificate. We make no comment on what was being recorded was an assignment, and observation, or anything else.


  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Assigned works better than observed unless one has already decided trans isn’t real.

    If someone is wanting language that is neutral on whether or not trans is real - well, good luck with that.

    "Assigned" isn't neutral, because it implies that sex isn't driven by biology, but is somehow assignable. To the biological determinist, it makes no more sense to talk about "assigning" sex than it does to talk about "assigning" blood type or height.

    If you want neutral language, I think about the closest you can get might be "recorded at birth" because it is a mere statement of fact. A child was born. Somebody recorded the sex of the child on a birth certificate. We make no comment on what was being recorded was an assignment, and observation, or anything else.

    As I understand it, assigned at birth means recorded at birth, at least to trans people. IMO, it carries with it the implication that society does actually assign gender based on incomplete assessment.
    In other words, "you have these genitals, you are this gender". So their is an assignment.

  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    quantpole wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Cis-women and trans-men covers the bases.

    But you're going to complain that not everyone knows what cis- means.

    What is interesting here is that you seem to be angry at people trying to solve a real problem. Your solution seems to be "just say women", and while at the same time complaining that alternative might lead to some people not realising they're in the target group, ignoring or not caring that "women" doesn't accurately describe it either. You say "never mind about the women affected", but all solutions have this same problem.

    I gave a solution that wasn't "just say women" it just wasn't a solution you liked. I think Learning Cniht covered most of the bases. You seem to be more concerned about potentially triggering someone's gender dysphoria than ensuring women know they should be checked.

    I merely pointed out that "women and transmen" is inaccurate. You then went on to make accusations about my motives.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    quantpole wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Assigned works better than observed unless one has already decided trans isn’t real.

    Assigned only works in the case of people with DSDs. Otherwise sex is observed at birth. Unless you're conflating sex and gender of course.
    lilbuddha wrote:
    Science is more and more supporting trans as real.

    What do you even mean by that? The vast majority of people, including most of those you deride as TERFs, don't doubt that gender dysphoria is real.
    Cute. Walks around that they don't think a trans-woman is a real woman. And that is something more and more supported by science.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    As I understand it, assigned at birth means recorded at birth, at least to trans people. IMO, it carries with it the implication that society does actually assign gender based on incomplete assessment.
    In other words, "you have these genitals, you are this gender". So their is an assignment.

    "Assigned" and "recorded" are different words, with different meanings.

    As I understand it, people who think sex is biologically determined are objecting to the "assignment". They agree that what happens is that someone looks at the baby's genitals, and says "it's a boy" or "it's a girl", but there is disagreement over whether that is an assignment or an observation. Nobody would use the word "assignment" to describe what happens when someone measures the circumference of the baby's head and writes down 130mm (or whatever).

    Using "recorded" sidesteps the issue.
  • I thought that one is an inference, that is, sex. If I observe someone's genitals, I can certainly infer their sex, but I can't observe it. With babies, we are used to the conflation.
  • When the distribution is bimodal: sex=gender" there two modes to the distribution, that is what people will generally go with, thus male and female. Exceptions don't make rules, they signify minorities whose welfare, dignity and rights may require defence from the majority. In the case of trans, it appears that this is being attempted via legislation and via 'getting the message out there'. But it does not mean that the experience of the minority necessarily must inform the majority's experiences. Thus, when people are told that the sex recorded/observed/assigned at birth does not represent everyone, they probably say that it did for them, and they disagree with the perspective that "assignment" should be discussed for everyone, and also that it is helpful process to lead all children and adolescents in particular to question their congruence between sex and gender when they are developmentally vulnerable to external authoritative influence.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    quantpole wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Assigned works better than observed unless one has already decided trans isn’t real.

    Assigned only works in the case of people with DSDs. Otherwise sex is observed at birth. Unless you're conflating sex and gender of course.

    External genitalia is observed at birth. Sex is inferred.
  • MarsupialMarsupial Shipmate
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Assigned works better than observed unless one has already decided trans isn’t real.

    If someone is wanting language that is neutral on whether or not trans is real - well, good luck with that.

    "Assigned" isn't neutral, because it implies that sex isn't driven by biology, but is somehow assignable. To the biological determinist, it makes no more sense to talk about "assigning" sex than it does to talk about "assigning" blood type or height.

    As I recall, “assigned” is what is used clinically. It’s not perfect terminology, insofar as I suppose someone might misinterpret it to suggest that doctors are randomly assigning sex to babies on the basis of nothing in particular (as would be the case for “recorded” if it were misinterpreted in the same way). But if we can all basically get on the same page about what it means I don’t think “assigned” does any particular harm. AIUI, sex is generally assigned on the basis of looking at the external genitalia, and this is generally highly predictive of other sexually differentiated characteristics such as genetic sex, internal reproductive anatomy, adult phenotype, and gender identity - none of which are generally observed (or even observable) at the moment a baby is born.

    These things usually line up with each other but on occasion they do not. The question is what to do when they fail to line up.

  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    edited March 12
    When the distribution is bimodal: sex=gender" there two modes to the distribution, that is what people will generally go with, thus male and female. Exceptions don't make rules, they signify minorities whose welfare, dignity and rights may require defence from the majority.
    In a bimodal distribution, points that are not at the tip of the peaks are not exceptions. Bimodal simply means that most points will be close to the peaks.
    In the case of trans, it appears that this is being attempted via legislation and via 'getting the message out there'. But it does not mean that the experience of the minority necessarily must inform the majority's experiences. Thus, when people are told that the sex recorded/observed/assigned at birth does not represent everyone, they probably say that it did for them, and they disagree with the perspective that "assignment" should be discussed for everyone, and also that it is helpful process to lead all children and adolescents in particular to question their congruence between sex and gender when they are developmentally vulnerable to external authoritative influence.
    Kind strange. taking into consideration that a child's genitals might not represent their gender in no way hurts cis-gender people.
  • Which misses the point. I doubt very much that large majority of people for which sex=gender will modify their behaviour in a delivery room because there's a small chance that their child at some future step in development will find that sex≠gender. The observed sex from anatomy is what gets reported in the records of birth here. And yes, it can be changed later with little fuss, but it is not going to be that they won't record it.

    For the person who finds that they are transgender when they are old enough to understand such things (we could argue at what age might be old enough: a newborn isn't), using the terms "sex assigned to you at birth" may be comforting and helpful. Which has nothing to do with using for everyone.

  • Given the huge legal battles people have to change their assigned sex on their birth certificates, I wouldn't call that "with little fuss".
  • edited March 13
    They do that years later. And it's very few people. It's come to an application to be filled out in my province. It'll come to that elsewhere too. Bit there's not going to be pregnancy and birth changes for the majority on account of a very few. Particularly when raising children genderless is periodically reported about. Which is a social experiment, unknown if gender uncertainty creates any developmental consequences and issues for children later There's data about negative social consequences, which is the concern that people are trying you address via advocacy. But as there's no data forb personal psychological developmental effects, it's in the realm of advocacy. I get the concern for a minority, but at birth isn't the right time nor venue.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    That sounds an awful lot like every other excuse not to consider those outside the default.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    I get the concern for a minority, but at birth isn't the right time nor venue.

    I believe currently we are discussing whether to say "observed at birth" or "assigned at birth." That's hardly advocacy at time time of birth.
  • I get the concern for a minority, but at birth isn't the right time nor venue.

    A story. Someone I know, born in the 1970s, presented with ambiguous external genitalia at birth. They were assigned female, had surgery to remove the vestigial parts, and brought up as a girl. Despite/because of massive gender dysphoria, they joined the army, and eventually made the decision to transition to male - except they always, always, saw it as confirming their original identity as male, and that being assigned female was a life-changing mistake that could have been avoided.

    They died recently from cancer, and it is suspected that was it at least partly due to the hormones they had been given.

    Birth was exactly the right time and the venue for this person.
  • MarsupialMarsupial Shipmate
    NP I'm having a little difficulty understanding what your concern is here. Practically speaking, we live in a mostly binary cisgender world, and absent some fundamental change in human nature we're going to continue living in a mostly binary cisgender world for millennia to come. I don't expect we will ever see language like "sex assigned at birth" popping up in ordinary conversation, or as a field to be filled out on your driver's license renewal application. It's fairly technical language that I've never seen, and don't ever expect to see, outside the context of discussions of transgender and intersex people - i.e., where sex assigned at birth may be inconsistent with gender identity, genetic sex, or other aspects of sexual anatomy.
  • It isn't a concern. Merely that it's unlikely as you note. Except the advocacy has been in my view misdirected at general public change of perspective. When it is better that we protect minority human rights. I don't like the intolerant push back and conflict.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    Intolerant pushback?
    Yeah, that’s not loaded
  • Misinterpret much? The intolerance is from those who discriminate against transgender people.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    Marsupial wrote: »
    AIUI, sex is generally assigned on the basis of looking at the external genitalia, and this is generally highly predictive of other sexually differentiated characteristics such as genetic sex, internal reproductive anatomy, adult phenotype, and gender identity - none of which are generally observed (or even observable) at the moment a baby is born.
    I am dubious about thinking that the real meaning of terms in common use is ever something that is not actually observable without sophisticated equipment. In this case, the meaning of 'sex' is presumably something accessible to people who didn't know about chromosomes. So if the chromosomes are at odds with other more observable sexually differentiated characteristics it seems to me that it is the other observable characteristics that determine the concept. In particular, if the external genitals are unambiguous I don't think I'd see much short of actual reproductive capacity as overriding them in defining biological sex.
    (Gender of course is not sex.)
  • MarsupialMarsupial Shipmate
    Dafyd wrote: »
    I am dubious about thinking that the real meaning of terms in common use is ever something that is not actually observable without sophisticated equipment. In this case, the meaning of 'sex' is presumably something accessible to people who didn't know about chromosomes. So if the chromosomes are at odds with other more observable sexually differentiated characteristics it seems to me that it is the other observable characteristics that determine the concept. In particular, if the external genitals are unambiguous I don't think I'd see much short of actual reproductive capacity as overriding them in defining biological sex.
    (Gender of course is not sex.)

    I am doubtful that a philosophy of language analysis here is very helpful here. If, as a result of certain philosophical commitments, you think that words have a "real meaning" and that unobservable etiology cannot be part of this meaning, then obviously you're going to have difficulty with including genetic sex in the definition of sex. But most people tend to think of genetic sex as being included in the meaning of sex, and so it is relevant to have a concept that captures the fact that observable genitalia do not invariably correctly predict genetic sex.

    The question of the relationship between sex, gender, and gender identity is complicated one and goes well beyond philosophy of language.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Doc Tor wrote: »

    A story. Someone I know, born in the 1970s, presented with ambiguous external genitalia at birth. They were assigned female, had surgery to remove the vestigial parts, and brought up as a girl. Despite/because of massive gender dysphoria, they joined the army, and eventually made the decision to transition to male - except they always, always, saw it as confirming their original identity as male, and that being assigned female was a life-changing mistake that could have been avoided.

    They died recently from cancer, and it is suspected that was it at least partly due to the hormones they had been given.

    Birth was exactly the right time and the venue for this person.

    Is a quick check for XX or XY not available, or does it take too long/not commonly available? That would surely help the decision-making process.

  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    Chromosomes ≠ gender
  • MarsupialMarsupial Shipmate
    edited March 14
    If you can figure out what the intersex condition is though (which I assume would include, among other things, identifying genetic sex) you may be in a much better position to predict adult phenotype and gender identity than if you just look at the baby's genitals. See for instance:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/5α-Reductase_deficiency

    ... where children can appear female at birth but virilize at puberty and generally end up identifying as male. (This is the condition that is described fictionally in Jeffrey Eugenides' novel Middlesex.)

    I understand there was a time, before ambiguous genitals intersex conditions were better understood, when doctors made what retrospectively look like pretty arbitrary determinations about sex assignment based on what the baby's genitals looked like. I would guess this is probably what happened in the case @Doc Tor is describing.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    Doc Tor wrote: »

    A story. Someone I know, born in the 1970s, presented with ambiguous external genitalia at birth. They were assigned female, had surgery to remove the vestigial parts, and brought up as a girl. Despite/because of massive gender dysphoria, they joined the army, and eventually made the decision to transition to male - except they always, always, saw it as confirming their original identity as male, and that being assigned female was a life-changing mistake that could have been avoided.

    They died recently from cancer, and it is suspected that was it at least partly due to the hormones they had been given.

    Birth was exactly the right time and the venue for this person.

    Is a quick check for XX or XY not available, or does it take too long/not commonly available? That would surely help the decision-making process.

    Help how? Help the deciders congratulate themselves when the possibility still exists that they are wrong?
  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    I get the concern for a minority, but at birth isn't the right time nor venue.

    A story. Someone I know, born in the 1970s, presented with ambiguous external genitalia at birth. They were assigned female, had surgery to remove the vestigial parts, and brought up as a girl. Despite/because of massive gender dysphoria, they joined the army, and eventually made the decision to transition to male - except they always, always, saw it as confirming their original identity as male, and that being assigned female was a life-changing mistake that could have been avoided.

    They died recently from cancer, and it is suspected that was it at least partly due to the hormones they had been given.

    Birth was exactly the right time and the venue for this person.

    Much earlier, someone born in the next parish along from mine was identified as female at birth and brought up as female, albeit a tomboyish female.

    He graduated in medicine from Aberdeen University, which gave him the gender neutral title "Dr" and moved to a gender neutral contaction of his given name.

    He had his birth certificate changed to male in the 1950s, at which point he was able to marry his long term companion. Moreover, as soon as he was officially male he was ordained as an elder in the Church of Scotland, the eldership being exclusively male until the 1960s.

    Old people whom I know, who knew him, seem remarkably unfazed by the progression to becoming legally male.

    He was very highly thought of as a rural G.P.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    Gee D wrote: »
    Doc Tor wrote: »

    A story. Someone I know, born in the 1970s, presented with ambiguous external genitalia at birth. They were assigned female, had surgery to remove the vestigial parts, and brought up as a girl. Despite/because of massive gender dysphoria, they joined the army, and eventually made the decision to transition to male - except they always, always, saw it as confirming their original identity as male, and that being assigned female was a life-changing mistake that could have been avoided.

    They died recently from cancer, and it is suspected that was it at least partly due to the hormones they had been given.

    Birth was exactly the right time and the venue for this person.

    Is a quick check for XX or XY not available, or does it take too long/not commonly available? That would surely help the decision-making process.

    Help how? Help the deciders congratulate themselves when the possibility still exists that they are wrong?


    No, reduce the chances of their being wrong.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    Again: Chromosomes ≠ gender, Chromosomes ≠ sex
    The chances of looking at genitals and being wrong are already small as most people fit.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Again: Chromosomes ≠ gender, Chromosomes ≠ sex
    The chances of looking at genitals and being wrong are already small as most people fit.

    Yeah swell. The problem is that people get locked into it. This person has a dick and a Y chromosome so they must be male, period, end of story, seek no further. THAT is the problem.
  • Anyway, if you have ambiguous genitalia - surgery is not necessarily a good idea, whatever sex or gender you maybe. If you are non-standard, how are surgeons supposed to know exactly how your nerve pathways work and feel ?

    Moreover the physical size issue with an infant means major surgery may be less refined early on, this is why cleft lip and palate repair is staged across childhood - rather than lip repairs being done at a few days old as they used to be.
Sign In or Register to comment.