« Your interesting word open thread | Main | Hype »

April 17, 2021

Comments

russell's great-nephew is doing great right now. When he's fifteen, as CharlesWT pointed out, that may change.

It undoubtedly will, for a number of reasons.

Basically, I think the kid has many years of struggle ahead of him. Where to pee is the least of it. He is doing great in the sense of having success in sports. He’s also spent time in a psych ward, for planning his own suicide. At age 7.

The world is not always a friendly place to unusual people.

I do understand that people like my niece’s kid make some other people - maybe a lot of other people - uncomfortable. The stakes for him go miles beyond comfort. He’s just trying to exist in a world where a lot of people would prefer that he didn’t.

It’s a lot, for a kid. It’s a lot for anyone.

Which bathroom to use and who gets to play ball are where the legal system intersects this stuff at this point, but the reality is much deeper.

Can we make room in our lives for people who aren’t like us? That’s the issue. The law just follows where that leads.

I've not had time to follow links, but briefly:

1. I have no idea what the exact purpose is for collecting M/F criminological data (or, when it comes to it, any data), but off the top of my head I can imagine for example that the incidence of female-perpetrated violent crime might have a bearing on the number of or necessity for high-security female prisons, or prison places.

2. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if my "four bins" are not sufficient, and I am very sure that I cannot give a totally satisfactory definition of my currently proposed four. This is why the situation is so complicated, in addition to the whole question of the difference between gender and sex. I am reasonably familiar with the "gender is a construct" argument, but sex is not a construct as far as I can see, despite the fact that there are some grey areas.

What is certain is that women have had to fight for certain rights, and safe spaces, and that these are potentially endangered if anybody who wants to (for however innocent or malign a reason) can self-identify as a legal woman.

I am not at all comfortable being the spokesperson for this kind of viewpoint, and may even bow out in due course, since as I have made clear my views are still evolving. My attitude towards trans people (as I hope I have also made clear) is not at all persecutory, is in contrast supportive, but I absolutely reject the notion that these kinds of questions and concerns are transphobic. It seems clear to me that we are only at the beginning of a reckoning with this issue. In wj's words: we won't get there soon.

Good article, lj. It's a good contribution to the quest to balance costs and benefits that's been mentioned in this thread.

Concerning the story out of Canada about the Brazilian wax job (or should I say whack job) -- where the woman who sued several shops eventually lost her case:

“However, I find that Ms Yaniv’s predominant motive in filing her waxing complaints is not to prevent or remedy alleged discrimination, but to target small businesses for personal financial gains,” Ms Cousineau [member of the tribunal that judged the case] wrote.

In many of the complaints, Ms Cousineau added, Ms Yaniv was “also motivated to punish racialised and immigrant women based on her perception that certain ethnic groups, namely South Asian and Asian communities, are ‘taking over’ and advancing an agenda hostile to the interests of LGBTQ+ people,” in many of the complaints.

The first major case of transgender discrimination in retail in Canada, the proceedings have sparked a fervent social media debate.

Meanwhile, several right-wing outlets and media personalities, including Alex Jones, the antagonistic American conspiracy theorist, have used the case to rile their followers.

That last paragraph was not a surprise, given how many times I've seen that single case cited as a cautionary tale about trans people.

The woman was a misogynistic, racist POS. She -- should be dealt with accordingly, but other people should not be punished for her crimes.

Another crucial paragraph from that article:

Ultimately, the tribunal concluded that human rights legislation does not oblige a beautician to wax genitalia they have not consented or had training to wax.

Consent.

Reminds me of a comment someone made on BJ in a discussion about locker rooms: something to the effect that no one should be forced to be naked around other people, or to be around other naked people if they don't want to be. (I am paraphrasing a much pithier comment. But I liked it, anyhow.)

Then someone else wrote a long tale about taking showers on a submarine.........

She -- should be dealt with accordingly, but other people should not be punished for her crimes.

Any time some group has a legitimate complaint, someone (who likely isn't even a member of the group) will figure out a way to exploit the complaint for personal gain. Which doesn't, or at least shouldn't, erase the legitimacy of the original complaint.

The woman was a misogynistic, racist POS. She -- should be dealt with accordingly, but other people should not be punished for her crimes.

Misogynistic racist POS, for sure, if the descriptions of her racist motivations are accurate about all the cases. Myself, I am not sure if calling her a "woman" is right: no trans woman I know or have heard of would voluntarily submit their penis and testicles for any kind of beauty treatment. In fact, many trans people are actively horrified by the activities of trans "activists", particularly those who are violent to those women they call TERFS. Yaniv (who put some of those salons out of business before the ruling Janie links about) has also been accused of harassing teenage girls, and obsessing about helping them out with menstruation problems, and tampon removal. It seems to me that she may not be what you might call a straightforward trans case.

other people should not be punished for her crimes

Nobody should be punished for other people's crimes. This is not about" punishing" trans people or trans women, this is about whether self-ID should be sufficient legally to classify the claimant as whatever they choose.

Just because an issue is seized upon by Alex Jones, or Tucker Carlson, or Donald Trump, it does not make it automatically a non-issue (although I am sympathetic to the impulse).

It seems to me that she may not be what you might call a straightforward trans case.

You brought her into the discussion....

I'll leave the rest of your comment alone.

This is not about" punishing" trans people or trans women, this is about whether self-ID should be sufficient legally to classify the claimant as whatever they choose.

Even leaving aside the word "punish" -- it is most definitely about how this one person's misdeeds might or should inform the discussion about how all trans people are treated.

I brought her into the discussion because I did not consider her a straightforward trans case.

It is no doubt an exceptional case, but the case in self-ID Canada of the “trans woman” who has insisted on going to female-only waxing salons, booking appointments to wax “her”penis and testicles, and then sued them and put them out of business when they refuse gives one pause, and may make sense of the feminists’ insistence that so much of this cause is misogynistic in origin.

I considered her case a cautionary tale about the possible dangers of self-ID.

I have now read lj's Guardian link. There is no doubt that the provision of NHS gender-reassignment services is lamentable. The waiting times are terribly cruel, and have caused much frustration and misery to a trans teen of my acquaintance.

I find this to be the epitome of uncomfortable people reaching for a justification for transphobia, while also risking being the understanding parent that goes too far before a child even gets to a reasonable age for decision making.

As a culture(s) we have survived by assigning and executing roles by the most recognizable criteria available. While we struggled to survive and procreation was of paramount importance to the tribe it seems there was a default expectation that wasn't unreasonable to enforce culturally.

Todays reality is that we don't need to enforce any cultural norm of presentation or self identification of gender or sexual preference. In my opinion, of all the things we should not be concerned with it is who someone believes they are and, secondarily, who they prefer to sleep with today.

It is a huge issue with our culture that we want people to declare what side they are on in some permanent way. I think this leads to abuses, emotional, legal and physical.

It also clouds the discussion with bathroom type issues? They should go to whatever bathroom they feel safest in, the predators in our society are a distinct problem that is barely exacerbated, if at all, by the self id of trans women.

We should be trying to figure out how to get past the desire for someone to be masculine or feminine, male like or female like, and stop equating those things to what genitalia they have. When society stops forcing people to take a side the mental and emotional counseling will be almost unnecessary as it will be an accepted choice over time that creates only the angst one might have in how it might make them feel, not how it will be viewed by others.

This is a truly evolutionary goal for humans. It will touch every part of every cultural assumption that we have been picking at the edges of over the last 60 years or so.


We should be trying to figure out how to get past the desire for someone to be masculine or feminine, male like or female like, and stop equating those things to what genitalia they have. When society stops forcing people to take a side the mental and emotional counseling will be almost unnecessary as it will be an accepted choice over time that creates only the angst one might have in how it might make them feel, not how it will be viewed by others.

This is something I've been trying to figure out how to say, so thanks for saying it so succinctly. Great comment overall, for that matter.

Thanks Janie

It also clouds the discussion with bathroom type issues? They should go to whatever bathroom they feel safest in, the predators in our society are a distinct problem that is barely exacerbated, if at all, by the self id of trans women.

I don't disagree with a lot of what Marty says is desirable, and I hope we evolve to that level. But bathrooms are the least of it (and I personally have no misgivings about sharing bathrooms with trans women). What about safe house refuges for female victims of domestic abuse, which are strictly no-entry for males? Having to accept self-ID there (for example by the bearded bloke who still has penis and testicles) would be a serious problem for the traumatised women therein according to friends who work with domestic abuse survivors. I stress, (and then will stop commenting on this topic), that these particular concerns (at least when voiced by me) are not to do with thinking trans women are men, or to do with being anti-trans.

I have nothing worth adding to the discussion beyond the obvious "edge cases are often contentious." But I did want to drop a comment just to say that this is a remarkably polite discussion of the various aspects of the situation, and enjoyed reading it.

https://time.com/4314896/transgender-bathroom-bill-male-predators-argument/

Some 80% of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows, a family member in the home (roughly 20%) or a friend of the victim (some 35%). Strangers commit approx. 20% of rapes.

Many of these rapes in the home occur in bathrooms.

Straight men commit most rapes in the country.

It would be interesting to break down these incidents by political and religious affiliations.

We have plenty of on the record evidence that political scum of the Right, conservative and Christian, at the very least make light of rape statistics, and ridicule women who come forward.

Every rightwing talk show fascist goon shames women, no matter the circumstances of the sexual encounters, whether they are raped or consent to sex.

The Court system, until recently, but still in many cases, mentally tortures and humiliates women and children who bring allegations of rape.

And of course incidents of rape, particularly those committed by family members and friends are unreported.

Nearly every woman I know when the subject is raised confesses to having been sexually assaulted at one time or another in their lives.

And forced sexual penetration is only the worst of it.

But now this uproar from the puke funnel of the conservative movement.

Yes, there are issues to be confronted and with sensitivity to all personally involved.

But conservatives can shut their mouths this late in the rightwing day. It's just the typical selective hateful crap.

Most of the straight men in the conservative movement fit the profile of the typical rapist by light years ahead of the bearded trans sneaking into the lady's room to rape and assault.

And when the latter do their worst, then prosecute those individuals as individuals.

Unlike so many straight men get away with their serial bullshit through the centuries.

I suppose if the bearded trans female fully equipped was a domestic abuse survivor that needed a safe house refuge it would be hard to turn her away, but that's a pretty edge case. I believe just identifying as a woman probably would not get one in anyway.

But, that would be pretty high on the list of situations to resolve.

What about safe house refuges for female victims of domestic abuse, which are strictly no-entry for males?

Bathrooms became a culture war flash point because everybody uses them, and so could relate. But the reactionary politicians seem to have calculated that they don't want to admit that any of their voters might be abused spouses. (Or abusers.) So those shelters are unlikely to get the same treatment.

Per capita rapes in American metropolitan areas:

https://www.statista.com/statistics/605581/us-metropolitan-areas-with-the-highest-rape-rate/

Are trans women and young black men migrating to Anchorage, Alaska and heartland cities en mass?

https://www.rainn.org/statistics/perpetrators-sexual-violence

I would assume that anyone who was entering a halfway house for women who were survivors of domestic abuse would be either 1) a survivor of domestic abuse, or 2) an employee or professional associated with the halfway house, or 3) a cleared visitor.

I'm not sure how random creeper of whatever expressed gender would end up in such a place and be able to demand access based only on the strength of self-ID. I would imagine that such a person would receive the same treatment as any other non-authorized and disruptive trespasser. These places do tend to have controlled access and workers trained to deal with problems. Why would this case be any different?

Is the self-identified trans-woman a survivor of domestic abuse? If so, then where else should she go? Who else is she supposed to do group therapy with? What are the reasons why she has a beard? Has she had her treatments withheld by her domestic partner as punishment?

Have any of these halfway houses had to deal with abusive lesbian partners before? Is there no way to keep that abuser out because she is a woman?

These questions prompted mostly by my trying to figure out in what context the looming-bearded-stranger-with-a-penis shows up at the halfway house. We can all see how such a situation might prove challenging, and be traumatic for one of the women living there, but I'm trying to get a better sense of how such a thing might actually happen, and what other questions such a situation might prompt. I think the context would matter.

Going back to the guardian article, it starts out with

Upon his death in 1989, retired jazz singer Billy Tipton, who lived as a man for more than 50 years, was discovered to be transgender.

One thing that brings me to where I am is that tt seems to me that historically, this might be something that has been with us for a long time, but we never noticed it. This ties it in to the concept of 'passing'. In the most common form, it is a black person 'passing' as a white person. The wikipedia article links to three other wikipedia articles (passing by gender, class and race), which gives you an idea of how sprawling the topic is. I only scratch the surface of the stuff out there with this
https://www.jstor.org/stable/2934966?seq=1
https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/tessa-thompson-and-ruth-neggas-racial-identity-movie-passing-and-why-rebecca-hall-was-the-perfect-person-to-direct

There is a particularly interesting category of passing for me, where a white person passes as a minority whose language is endangered and becomes a resource for that language. There is an article about one such person, Red Thunder Cloud, written by Ive Goddard,

In the Star Trek First Contact movie, where Picard and the rest of the Enterprise go back in time to prevent the Borg from altering history and, at one point, it looks like they will have to stay stranded (spoiler: they get back to the 24th century!) Picard says this

Orders to find a quiet corner of North America and ...stay out of history's way.

One has to wonder how many people just chose to live as a different gender and just 'stay out of the way'.

One has to wonder how many people just chose to live as a different gender and just 'stay out of the way

Read a few of these. Maybe not exacatly what you're talking about, but see e.g. Cathay Williams enlisting in the Army and no one ever discovering that she was a woman.

I bet there were a lot of people like this "staying out of the way." Like gay people, they've now decided they're tired of the closet.

nous's last couple of comments flesh out something important: we look at the process of integrating trans people living openly, and various people see various real and potential problems. Some people see the problems as a reason to oppose the process. Other people, like nous, say: what exactly is the problem, is there a way to solve it, and what trade-offs might that involve?

Since I brought this up, I will answer, but then I am done with this discussion.

The burly, bearded self-IDing as a woman individual works at the same voluntary sector organisation as a friend of mine. She has taken a woman's name and pronouns, but appears in every other single respect as an almost parodically masculine man, and apparently (according to male co-workers) still has male genitalia. If this country had passed its self-ID law, and this individual claimed to be (or was in fact) abused by their partner, a refuge for female abuse victims would have had difficulty refusing a place if they had one, even though many (if not all) such female refuges have a no-men policy.

Leaving aside whether this individual is truly trans, or has autogynephilia, or is pulling some other kind of strange trip, we all know that trans people suffer disproportionately from violent abuse. Therefore, I believe there should be refuges for trans people, just as male victims of domestic abuse are given separate refuge. I also believe that traumatised and abused women should not have either to cohabit with somebody who seems to all intents and purposes a man, or to leave the place of safety they have finally found, many of them after a long struggle.

A family member of mine worked, decades ago, at the very first refuge for victims of domestic abuse (in those days called "battered wives") in the world. She remembers the difficulty they had, in this country and then internationally, persuading people (funders, governments etc) of the need for such refuges, and the scale of the problem. She, a humane and inclusive person with no prejudice against trans people, and who has worked all her life for human rights and women's rights, says it is unthinkable to subject traumatised victims to someone who, no matter who they say they are, presents as a very masculine man.

Men are responsible for almost all violent crime against women. Women have fought and suffered for rights and safe spaces. Self-ID laws potentially take away those protections. Another solution must be found to protect, and guarantee rights for, trans people.

Of course, my list isn't exhaustive. ;-)

Some people also simply want to stop the process, and the problems are simply there to cite as reasons.

The list of reasons why gay people shouldn't be allowed to marry was composed almost entirely of that kind of stuff. "Families are struggling! They can't take one more hit!" -- said one Maine legislator. At first I thought he was talking about the struggles of gay people's families, which had been described at heartbreaking length in the hearing about the marriage bill. But no. Those families weren't "real" families, so....

Coming late to this, but JanieM’s take seems both sensible and generous to me.

Also this...
One thing that brings me to where I am is that tt seems to me that historically, this might be something that has been with us for a long time, but we never noticed it. ...
I don’t think it accurate to say that we never noticed it. There are multiple accounts in British newspapers in the late 18th and 19th centuries, for example.
I don’t know to what extent that’s true in the US, but this book suggests it’s quite likely:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34791133-true-sex

Gender policing, in Britain at least, seems to have become considerably stricter as the Victorian era progressed, and I think it’s more that society decided not to notice rather that that we never did.

Nigel - I wonder how much of a role the suffrage movement played in the policing of proper gender roles? That does seem the right moment to initiate such a crisis.

I'm not going to push too much harder on the issue of Domestic Violence Shelters myself because I really don't have enough grounding in the issue to start weighing in on potential solutions. I did, however, start reading through the following article, and found the discussion in sections I and II informative. It seems like a good outline of the historical context at the least, and lays out the issues well before it shifts to focus more narrowly on legal argumentation.

https://www.californialawreview.org/print/6-are-womens-spaces-transgender-spaces-single-sex-domestic-violence-shelters-transgender-inclusion-and-the-equal-protection-clause/

Controversy around the inclusion of transgender women in women-only domestic violence shelters is not new. Rather, it reflects the ongoing tension between the early feminist movement and critics who argue that the theory and advocacy informing women’s organizing in the 1970s must reform to foreground the experiences of the most marginalized women. The transgender rights movement represents one such call for reassessment. Part I frames the debate between early second wave feminists, who stood at the forefront of the initial domestic violence movement in the United States, and their critics—intersectional feminists and LGBT activists—to illuminate the philosophical orientations and policy platforms of each side.

The article is clearly written with the interests of TNGC survivors foremost, but it did not seem as if this particular priority distorted the fairness or accuracy of the historical account as it took its side.

I don’t right now have time to read the whole thing (got part way through the Suspect Class section), but that seems to me an excellent article, nous, bringing a degree of nuance to the discussion that you don’t often see in individual opinions.

You make a good point about suffragism, but I think the evidence suggests a move towards stricter gender policing was a thing somewhat earlier, towards the start of the Victorian period.
The end of the century was certainly an inflection point, though. And in a slightly different context, the trial of Oscar Wilde seems also to mark that inflection.

Nigel, good point, and as nous points out, it may have been when women started being unsatisfied with the way things are that gender policing began. As you say, maybe not suffragism, but certainly, that unquiet about representation and roles didn't emerge suddenly. There are other stories of women in various wars enlisting to fight as men, with this wikipedia article with an interesting title
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wartime_cross-dressers

I have read a lot of war stories, etc. and while I don't have links to them, discussions of women serving as men in the Civil War (naturally, that was the first conflict where war became a conflict of industrial nature, though a lot of people still don't see it as such) often talked about them 'serving a higher cause' or 'being unwilling to sit on the sidelines'

Here's a couple of links I pulled up
http://www.pbs.org/mercy-street/blogs/mercy-street-revealed/i-wanted-to-do-my-part-women-as-soldiers-in-civil-war-america/

https://www.historynet.com/women-in-the-civil-war

https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/female-soldiers-civil-war

I'm also mulling over the difference and similarity between 'we never noticed it' and 'society decided not to notice'. Both seem write and both seem wrong if you know what I mean.

And thanks to everyone for keeping this discussion informative and chill. I really appreciate it.

Those are interesting links, lj.

It's not easy to ascribe motive to historical crossdressing, since the evidence is most often sparse, but one of your Civil War links touches on a reasonably clear distinction between those for whom it was a purposeful endeavour purely in terms of participation in the war, and those for whom it seems to have been something rather more.
...After the war, Sarah Edmonds doffed her uniform and resumed life as a woman, marrying and raising several children before successfully applying for a military pension in 1884. Other cross-dressing soldiers, however, lived the majority of their lives as men....

The Wikipedia link encompasses a similar range of apparent motive, including as it does both the Chevalier d'Éon...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevalier_d%27Éon\
... and the former Israeli PM Ehud Barak:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ehud_Barak
More modern cases like the latter obviously don't present the same ambiguities and uncertainties as the more historically remote.

Btw, it seems to me that "intersectional" is one of those terms which is both extremely useful, and at the same time sounds so ugly that it tends to put people off giving it the respect it deserves.

A bit like "subsidiarity".

Yeah...I tend to have to adjust my unconscious reading of it from

(inter) sectional (what on earth does that mean?)

to

intersection(al) (which makes more sense)

You can tell I don't get out much.

I am still trying to piece together a #5 for my string of comments from the other night, but I've got real life interfering today. Maybe tonight.

By the way, in case the term isn't used outside the US, a sectional is a piece of furniture.

a 'sectional' is also a regional competition among high schools - for example, a track meet - , in NYS.

if you were really good, you got to go to the annual sectional meet and get creamed by the big city schools.

Sectional is also practice for particular sections of a concert band. (can't remember if the terminology transferred over to orchestra)

http://apps.texasbandmasters.org/archives/pdfs/clinic/2019_dick.pdf

and sectional healing is something that's good for me.

When you gets that feeling, you need sectional healing?

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Blog powered by Typepad