I’m an ex-pat Englishman; a true dinosaur of the species and close to the lowest of the low on the scale of victim ranking, white, privileged, middle to upper working class, heterosexual male, advanced in age, not wealthy but rich in humour. (Politically however more than merely left ‘leaning’.) At the end of ’19, around the same time news of the Covid virus began to emerge from China, I began to become aware of something extraordinarily skewered going on in my homeland. At first I took little notice – it was something about a furore the children’s writer JK Rowling had created by saying some things which had angered some other people who were claiming gross offence toward people with gender dysphoria, otherwise known as transgender people.
I have yet to read JK Rowling’s Harry Potter stories; perhaps one day if I get grandchildren it may happen. I’ve heard Tolkien was an inspiration to her stories, and his fantasies had mythical elements which can appeal to adults. Several of the adults in my family and near acquaintances have enjoyed Harry Potter, but I can’t say it is high on my reading list. JKR’s existence and success is known to me but I know very little else about her, and I haven’t previously sought out news about her or her doings and sayings.
Nearly six months later JKR was in the news again having again offended somebody, and this time it brought a headline article and it was also noted she was one of 150 signatories of an open letter written by 20 people, and published by Harper’s magazine, which lamented and warned of a dangerous trend towards intolerance and self-censorship in the media, in education and public institutions. So I began to take notice and the next thing that happened was JKR publishing an essay on her “Reasons for Speaking out on Sex and Gender Issues”.
By now I had surmised that most of the Anglophone world was about to go stark raving mad, whilst the USA already had done so quite a while back, and things were happening I had never dreamed could possibly happen at the time I left my homeland late in the eighties, even though enough other terrible things were happening at that time to make me weep. Just one crazy example of present day American cultural self flagellation and extermination, will suffice here to demonstrate the madness: a reputed and well established professor teaching business studies at a Californian business school, illustrated a point he was making about communications strategies by recounting a Chinese use of ‘filler’ words one of which being the Mandarin word “nèi ge”. Pronounced correctly as the professor apparently did, the word resembles (although not exactly) the well known defamatory American slang word for black people – “nigger”. Nèi ge in Mandarin Chinese however means nothing of the sort but approximates to “that”. Upon hearing this word however, students in the class were apparently outraged – (Imagine! Being outraged just by the sound of a foreign word, quite oblivious to it’s meaning! Should these people not rather be in kindergarten than in college?) and wrote to the college Dean demanding reprisals, which the Dean duly complied with and suspended the professor!!!
Now if things have got that bad (and there are plenty of other examples) then the USA is a sinking ship, and the rest of us need to get out of the way to avoid being sucked down with it. Realising that this is what’s become of America makes it in fact possible to understand how the desperation of the people, hoping to find a cure for the disease, could result in the voting in of a moron to the office of President, but of course that just makes the whole edifice even more unstable. Obviously the horror of police brutality and its disproportionate use and effect on coloured people needs protesting in the strongest possible terms, but such an obliteration of the intellectual grasp of the problem as is displayed in the aforementioned and monstrous maculation of the very meaning of the concept of racism, and the consequent hindrance to being able to visualize and conceptualize what might be required to oppose it, means any hope that Americans and their culture might be able to lead the way to the better world must be abandoned. America has pulled the plug on ordinary common sense and is rapidly disappearing into intellectual darkness down the plughole towards cultural nihilism.
When I read JKR’s essay (found here) it finally dawned on me what has been going on the past decade and how my own country is in danger of being engulfed by this same madness, (because of speaking the same language) that obviously has caused such a cataclysmic rupture in the cognitive fabric of the American academia and possibly also society in general, as to make such abominations as that outlined above not only possible but daily more and more commonplace. The topic in Rowling’s case is the excesses of transgender rights campaigns rather than race, but it’s the same characteristic hole in the head madness in the driving seat producing these grotesque anomalies and aberrations of normal thought processes. Rowling has, just like the business studies professor, become a target for the rabid woke mob for no other reason than that she seems to be saying things they feel they ought not to like, because they sound different to their robotized, tweetered mnemonics and slogans, and trigger badly primed and half baked understandings of what human rights and their possible abuses are about. She’s been branded as ‘transphobic’ and as with the ‘racist’ brand once that brand has been stamped on someone, hard and fast, no amount of reasoned argument it seems will remove it. Should you anyway be foolhardy enough to risk thinking independently in regard to the children’s writer, you could read this and then pass judgement on her ‘transphobism’.
Arthur Miller, author of “The Crucible” and “Death of a Salesman” makes it clear for us in this interview with the New Yorker in 1996 that this is not the first time the ‘free’ world has been blighted by convolutions of mass madness in such a degree; the Nazi persecution of Jews in its early days is reminiscent of what’s going on at the moment, while the Senator McCarthy persecutions of communists in the 50’s is a more recent reminder of how a Western society can fall into the grip of a contagious paranoiac name, blame, shame and persecute epidemic, prior to the present outbreak (and no we’re not talking about Covid). What’s new with this present epidemic is that governments and authorities rather than being instigators are playing catch-up. That seems to have something to do with the advent and swiftness of the all powerful social media phenomenon.
The (re)reading of Miller’s Crucible is highly recommended.
Madness interests me, not least because I work in the field of mental health, which is to say with individuals with real mental health problems, but also this kind of institutionalized mass hysterical madness fascinates me, at the same time that it also fills me with horror. JKR’s essay by contrast is a good read, well composed and easy to follow without being shallow or needlessly and oversimplifyingly polemic. She asks herself the question why she doesn’t just keep her head down and write her books, but the question more or less answers itself. Democratic self determination and free speech are not laws of nature which spring up from the earth and keep flowing by themselves; real people have to practice and use them in order to preserve, maintain and develop them. Epidemics of societal madness such as the McCarthy abomination, and the present spreading malaise, rely for their success precisely on people “keeping their heads down” and self censoring their democratic rights to speak out freely about what they think and dream of.
So I’ve been on the Internet to find JKR’s accusers to hear their case and it took five seconds – there are tens of thousands of them. Some of them are pretty vile and I avoid them since they generally are also the most stupid, and I wouldn’t want to waste my breath on them. But others attempt to make documented and reasoned arguments to clarify what they find unacceptable about JKRs stance and essay.
So here’s one in video form published on YouTube featuring a young academic couple who go by the names of Jamie and Shaaba: (I have interspersed their statements and comments or my paraphrasing of their statements written in a sea green decorative font with my own comments in blue. The idea is to use their own “analytical” methods against them, in just the same way they have “analysed” Rowling’s essay.)
The video begins with Shaaba laying the groundwork saying they want to make three things perfectly clear:
1.) Biological sex is real
2.) Women’s rights need to be protected
3.) Freedom of speech is a basic right for everyone
sounds reasonable so far
However J.K. Rowling’s essay is misleading and “damaging” (my quotes ). We will explain why. I can see why what she writes looks really reasonable,
that could of course be because it IS really reasonable but obviously Shaaba makes this statement more or less as a disclaimer since in her view it clearly is not reasonable.
There’s the Gender Critical perspective (here Jamie throws left arm outward and opens hand ) and the Trans Community perspective (throws right arm outward so we now have the picture of a set of judgement scales )
Justice is going to be done Jamie assures us with his gestures, but at the same time this is going to be boiled down to an ‘either/or’ problem and here already is the first warning sign. There isn’t a middle ground where you could both be trans-non-phobic yet simultaneously gender critical (whatever that means). This very tiny minority of citizens seem to have acquired astonishing clout and resources in record time and the empowerment afforded them by these resources enables them to use the “if you’re not with us then you’re against us” rhetoric to extraordinary political effect in their ideological campaign. The bludgeoning use of this rhetoric to silence critics is a problem ever more prevalent in Western politics, since it was first used by George Bush in his successful bid to blackmail European and other nations, outside of the framework of the United Nations, into taking part in his ignominious war of aggression against Iraq, on the false pretext that Iraq was producing and stockpiling weapons of mass destruction and would shortly become a dire threat to world peace. How extremely bizarre sometimes perhaps, the ways in which your chickens can come home to roost?!
You can make up your own mind
Gee, that’s generous – I’ll be sure to do that.
My name is Shaaba and I’m a ‘cis’ woman . . .
If you like, but remember please, this is your world view not a universal one. So please don’t try bullying everyone else into adopting this form of speech and into describing themselves in relation to this artificially contrived paradigm. Cis is a Latin prefix which is not part of the English language,
Cis gender is merely an adjective (rolls eyes skywards as if to say “Why am I having to explain all this for the n’th time – surely people ought to have got this by now” )
actually it’s a noun phrase getting used as an adjective; try saying “I am a gender woman” (without the ‘cis’) and you suddenly become aware of the tautological implications of this peculiar variety of language bending. There’s a hidden agenda here which will shortly become more apparent.
. . to ‘save time’ instead of having to say “trans gender women” and “non trans gender women” !!!
Whoa!! Do you see what’s happening here? Shaaba skips so deftly and matter-of-fact- ishly over this aberration that if you blink you’ll miss it. But suddenly women are no longer to be defined as women. They’re to be defined instead as “non trans gender women”! Just let that sink in a moment. Trans gender women are to become the fixed reference point against which women will be allowed to define their own identity – no longer as women but as “non trans gender women”. In other words a binary concept with “trans gender” as the dominant part and “non-trans” as the subjugate. Oh but it’s only because it’s so clumsy all the time to have to say “non trans gender women” so we’ve found a little epithet which is going to ‘save time’ and (incidentally) make the whole thing much easier to stomach and – hey presto – now we can easily see that . . .
… you’re still a woman see, you’re still under the same ‘umbrella’ . . .
umbrella? Where did that come from? Comforting to know you’re “still a woman” for sure, but eerie that, from being in a class of human beings that for thousands of years has happily leaned on obvious biological features for its primary definitive terminology, you find yourself from one moment to the next instead relegated to being a member of one sub class among other sub classes of the class you once considered yourself primarily and exclusively a member of, due entirely to your biological status.
. . . it’s just an extra adjective for you
You obviously need educating a bit so this is specially “for you”, nothing to worry about just an “extra adjective”. Need anyone point out the mind boggling and patronising arrogance enmeshed in this historically unprecedented level of self entitlement? If you haven’t been on your critical guard then you’re already on the back foot one and a half minutes into this one hour long video, and groomed to enter the debate on a playing field which is completely redefined to ensure which goal the ball ends up in, and is anything other than neutral or academically level.
Under this umbrella your womanhood is quite secure, it’s just that now the idea has expanded so that other types of women, like brown women, Englishwomen and trans women are included – yeah you become one of a sub class instead for sure, but hey – that’s no different from any number of possible descriptive categories such as human or mammal (sic).
OMG. Who needs educating here? Since when did race or nationality begin to matter in the context of identifying the class of woman? What could being English or brown have to do with being a woman, such that it would be meaningful to call these “types” of woman? Was there ever a time when a brown woman’s womanhood could be called into question because of her brownness? There’s an elephant in this room here, a faux pas of epic proportion, a logical earthquake with a magnitude of 8 or 9 on the Richter scale. Brown women are NOT a sub class of woman. But for sure, if you’re thinking of including women with penises, or women who once had a penis in the class of woman, you’ll be unable to do that meaningfully unless you first create a structure of sub classes, where women get demoted to ‘cis’ women, (who, as we just heard, are no longer definable just as women, but must be defined in relation to the other sub class of women as “non trans gender women”), so that the class of ‘woman’ can now contain two valid sub classes – trans and non trans. Because for many thousands of years right from whenever human beings first developed a language, until a couple of years ago people with penises were, by definition, other than woman. People with penises have never before in history been a type of woman, not least because there never before were ‘different types’ of woman, but rather just one type of woman from which class the ownership of a penis would render a person automatically disqualified. What is so different about the present era that women suddenly can have penises?
It makes no sense whatever to compare brown women and trans women as if these could be counted as two valid and parallel sub classes of woman, but conversely (assuming temporary suspension of critical judgement on the whole issue of taking the concept ‘woman’ hostage in this nefarious fashion) it could never make sense not to compare women with trans women differentially on a biological axis. Because individuals from these groups belong biologically to two distinct and separate sexual classes.
It’s worrying that someone with a title of doctor could so wishy-washily peddle this gobbledegook as consistent philosophically sound argumentation. Abandon all hopes of high level academic debate from this point on; this is going to be just hard sales talk and a reiteration of the cult manifesto consecrated with the ritual sacrifice of a heretic who – after all – has been asking for it for some time yes?
Here’s the ‘kicker’ (in huge CAPITAL LETTERS PLASTERED OVER THE WHOLE SCREEN)
TRANS PEOPLE KNOW THAT BIOLOGICAL SEX EXISTS.They don’t dispute this . . . .
Well – actually a few oddballs do – e.g. Dr. Deanna Adkins professor at Duke University School of Medicine and the director of the Duke Center for Child and Adolescent Gender Care; but let’s ignore them. What’s the problem then, since we all agree: (apart from Deanna Adkins) BIOLOGICAL SEX IS REAL.?
If only JKR had apologized for forgetting to say that gender identity is real too, then we could have called off the witch hunt. But she didn’t.
So does JKR believe gender identity is real or not? And is it indeed real? Who can tell? The trans dogma metamorphoses so quickly even Jamie and Shaaba can’t keep up. They still believe BOTH biological sex AND gender identity are real. But in the U.S. that’s already old hat. Over there biological sex has now been revealed to be a social construct!!! Only gender identity is real and biologically determined! Is there some law which obliges everyone to be able at any instant to provide proof that they both are up to date with all this crap, and simultaneously contend to the belief in its latest mutation? And if you don’t believe it does that necessarily equate with hatred of transgender people? Does it make you a bigot, and if so why? If transgender people say they don’t believe biological sex is real, does that equate with hatred of heterosexual people? Are they then also bigots?
It’s getting a bit sticky and there are more questions than answers, but this omission is clearly in Jamie and Shaaba’s eyes enormously damning. And it is just an omission for God’s sake. She hasn’t said anything hateful about trans people, she’s just omitted to parrot a phrase Jamie and Shaaba hold as central and sacred to their belief (classic echoes of “The Crucible”). To be sure, she didn’t “forget” to say “Trans women are women”. She deliberately didn’t say it or write it because for her that would be a lie, or at least an incomplete half-truth. If she was allowed to qualify the statement and say “Trans women are women in their own understanding” then perhaps she might have said it, but that surely would not have satisfied the trans activist mob.
Bang goes the third of the preconditions mentioned at the outset of the video then, because obviously the ‘basic right to freedom of speech for everyone’ also encompasses the right not to say something you don’t wish to say. But Jamie and Shaaba refuse to accept JKR’s right not to say that trans women are women or that gender identity is real, as well as her right not to apologize for not saying it, in that they then see this omission as an entitlement for them to pigeon-hole her as TERF and transphobe.
Yet however harsh and oppressive it may sound in the ears of the faithful, if biological sex is real then there is no escaping the fact that trans women are men in biological terms, have been so from the moment of conception and will still be the day they die. So however true the statement “trans women are women” in a gender identity perspective may be, the statement “trans women are men” is at least equally true in a biological perspective. Jamie and Shaaba quite nicely parody this dilemma with their humorous little sketch with the post-it stickers on their chins, but still it’s necessary to recall why the dilemma arose in the first place, and it’s not because trans people for thousands of years have been oppressed, and we have at last found the courage to stand up for their rights. It’s because these presumed rights are hitched and welded to a totally new idea we’ve begun to call “gender identity”, which means obviously that the perception of trans gender rights is just as new, and that if the idea of gender identity fails to obtain to a status of philosophical truth, then the subtended gender rights fail with it. People who have never heard of gender identity, obviously want to know what it is, and what the assumed rights contingent to this identity are, and how these ideas put into practice might affect them, before they vindicate and accept them.
The problem here is that the reality of the biological perspective is open to objective scientific verification, whilst the reality of the gender identity perspective is not, this perspective being instead entirely dependent for its veracity on subjective report. It’s an intolerance only a shade short of the scandalously fascistic to call people transphobic as a primer to seeking to ruin them financially for their opting to favour a biological perspective over a gender identity perspective. Transgender ideology promotes a clear political strategy – using blaming, shaming and threats to livelihood to silence and terrorize people into submission to the rule of gender identity over biological identity, and then to amplify the mummers who are willing to endlessly repeat the “trans women are women” jingle, until it becomes so hypnotically fixed in the public ear, that it begins to be difficult to distinguish it from unassailable truth. It’s a strategy as old as the hills and it’s just as totalitarian today as it’s always been. It was precisely to render these types of religious and political fanaticism harmless that the institutions of democracy and free speech were instated as the bedrock of a modern society.
Perhaps what matters is not so much whether gender identity is real or not, and who has and who hasn’t confessed to the faith, but in what degree it’s reasonable and possible and in which social or political circumstances for gender identity to trump sexual identity. Because there will inevitably be clashes of interest, which will become serious when they devolve into actual lawmaking. The row over women’s private spaces of course is the exemplification of this clash of interest risk, and is one of the main issues of the whole debate JKR is concerned about. Every pro trans blog or feed trivializes this issue and plugs for precedence for trans gender identity interests over sex identity interests. Why should this be the foregone conclusion trans activists are trying so hard to make it out to be?
Where I live in Scandinavia people are not especially reserved about nudity in public places like beaches. Women here were throwing off their bras and sunbathing topless half a century ago, and no-one found this particularly remarkable. Yet today only a small minority do it; this may have to do with a general experience of harassment which by trial and error women have discovered can be lowered by putting on more clothes. Yet that may not be the whole story. A woman recently lost a court case where she complained over being expelled from a public bathing facility for refusing to put on a bikini top over her bare breasts. It’s seems as if we’re in the throes of a new wave of Puritanism, which as we know, far from successfully regulating human sexuality, just sweeps it under the carpet, and leaves it to it’s own devices.
And although I, as an ordinary male, would be unlikely to feel threatened sexually by the presence of female bodied trans ‘men’ in my private men’s spaces, I have to admit I would feel awkward and uncomfortable in some way, should such a trans man one day join my old boys football team, and suddenly announce ‘his’ intention to share our dressing room and communal showers. Because obviously at that point the game would be up and it would no longer be possible to play along with the charade of this person being a ‘man’, when confronted by ‘his’ naked female body in the shower.
This is apparently however, for some reason, something that almost never happens. The burden of this whole issue of changing rooms is borne entirely by women. Trans women (or some political mouthpiece assuming to speak on their behalf) are so quick to condemn women as transphobic for not wishing to share private facilities with them, do so with tedious regularity and are extremely aggressive about it to boot. Yet one never hears the same opinion aired with the accusation arrow turned about and inverted to point from men towards trans women instead – i.e. transwomen are androphobic for not wishing to share private facilities with men. Why is this? If the one thing is true is not the other at least as true? Is it not discriminatory against women to level an accusation of transphobia against them for their lack of eagerness to share their private spaces with trans women, whilst ignoring the androphobia of trans women who refuse to share with men?
Further, what about the transphobia of men not wishing to share with trans men? Again, this is hardly ever given a thought, but the reasons for that are obvious. Trans men are not making themselves heard in the same loud, brazen, disrespectful and unpleasant way trans women’s spokespersons and groups do in their claims to appropriation of women’s private spaces. Moreover, men have the luxury of not needing to feel physically insecure about the risks of assault, from women pretending to be men to get into men’s spaces. Men – a thousand times more than women – can quite simply afford not to care that much.
The great seventies climate of openness about sexuality has transmuted into one of considerably more caution driven by fear it seems. It’s disrespectful and exclusionary in my opinion, to flippantly discount the fears of women and promote the idea that only the interests of trans women count in the women’s spaces debate. To see how badly wrong the lackadaisical and uncritical acceptance of ineffective lawmaking can go, one only has to look at the (unrelated) cases of Karen White and Jessica Yaniv.
These are without a doubt not representative; they were men with serious mental problems who abused transgenderism and exploited far too sloppy lawmaking to demand access to things they had no right to demand access to. But that these cases can be discounted as unrepresentative doesn’t help the women who potentially are at risk from predators such as these. Only a sensible and suitably conscientious jurisprudence can do that.
Let’s say gender identity is real, just as we could say the soul is real, for it would after all be uncharitable to say otherwise when there is no material proof one way or the other of its existence or non existence as a demonstrable ‘thing’.
Phenomenologically people’s experiences of some kind of more or less profound sense of identity bound up with gender are undoubtedly real, and I can of course attest to my experience of being of male gender being at least as real as Jamie’s. I would however, be hard put to to make a confident declaration to the effect that this conviction is the equivalent of, or result of, being imbued with an inborn “gender identity”. My “sense” of being a male human being I would expect has a significant element – if not overwhelmingly so – of socialisation bound up with it, from which it would be analytically nigh impossible to extricate a pure element of naked and native psychic self knowledge, equivalent to some kind of a priori, existentially innate identity.
Yet however ‘real’ such a phenomenon may or may not be, we’re on thin ice in taking a shortcut from there to the asserting of an automatic coupling of this purely subjective experience with objective and consequent inalienable human rights. Feeling myself male doesn’t entitle me to have a wife, join the police, play football or wear a kilt, even if it doesn’t disbar me from such things either. It doesn’t entitle me to enter men’s toilets even. It simply doesn’t in itself “entitle” me to anything. Just as having a soul which I experience as specially ordained by god doesn’t (any longer) entitle me with divine rights to rule the land, or to demand other people must address me as “Your Highness”. It certainly doesn’t entitle me to enter women’s changing rooms, nor to call homosexual men bigoted heterophobes if they fail to desire me as a potential conjugal partner, or show no interest in dating me.
Being a man makes me a member of one of the two biological sub classes of the species homo sapiens, and as such entitled to the same human rights any and every other human being is or should be entitled to. Those are :
the right to be and move around freely in public spaces without being hindered, threatened, attacked or arrested providing I haven’t broken any law.
The right to seek and engage in activities and employment aimed at self provision of the necessary amenities required in the sustaining of life and protection of the body from hunger thirst disease and extremes of climate – again providing the activities are lawful.
The right to assemble and to commit myself to any legal association of fellow human beings I choose to and which chooses to accept me.
The right to seek in private the company of individual people of my own choice, with whom I wish to establish and develop friendships and partnerships.
The right to protect myself and those I love from anyone or thing seeking to do us harm.
The right to form and speak my own thoughts within the framework of lawful free speech.
These are human – not male – rights. They are the same rights females, children and adults of every race and religious and gender persuasion must have in a civilized society. It’s possibly not an exhaustive list and the rights to housing, education and health care in the degree to which the developmental stage reached by the society is capable of providing these, could for example be added to the list of generic human rights.
Precisely because human rights are universal, there can be no human rights applying specifically to males, females, trans, blacks, Jews or freemasons. Either everyone has these rights or no-one does. If trans gender women have a human right to define themselves as a group distinct from ordinary men, then women also have a human right to distinguish themselves as a group distinct from trans gender women. One exception might be children who have the human right to expect the adult world to protect and nurture them, beyond what a normal adult can expect of his/her fellow adults. Otherwise human rights belong to the commonality.
Some groups of course might in one respect or another be at a disadvantage compared to others in being able to fully realise their rights. So then there could be a reasonable demand for positive discrimination to compensate. A good example would be the very reasonable expectation that sporting associations should arrange women only fields and events, since everyone understands that men and women have a different physique which makes it unrealistic to expect women to be able to compete against men. This is thus a reasonable demand which a reasonable and civilized society will take on board; it is not a human right per se. Another minority group might oppose this demand in its absolute form, and claim that some people born as boys ought to be included in the women’s events because they have a gender experience of being women even though they have the advantages of a man’s physique. In democratic societies adult members have the right to organize and campaign politically for the realisation of particular demands for particular groups even though these demands are not necessarily embraced by a human rights concern, and even though they may also be in conflict with the aims and interests of other groups. It is not necessarily democratic or just to include the minority group just because it is a minority, and this is amply illustrated by the discussion on whether to include trans women in women’s sport. But basic human rights remain the same for all groups and individuals.
From the aforesaid it follows that the question of trans gender women’s “right” to use women’s private spaces is not a question of basic human rights. It may be that it falls into the category of a reasonable demand which a free, democratic and resourceful society ought to be able to give special consideration. But in that acknowledgement lies also the acknowledgement that there may well also be other and equal or more impending special considerations towards other groups which have the right to weigh in politically before any legally binding decision is made. There seems to be an entrenched reluctance among the trans community (or to be more precise the trans activist political mouthpiece speaking on behalf of the trans community) to admit this, and an enormous haste to get laws in their favour pushed through with as little debate as possible.
But does trans women’s access to women’s private spaces fall into the category of a reasonable demand? This is a perfectly legitimate and pertinent question, which again, trans activists seem inordinately eager to get buttoned down as oppressive of their rights and therefore unaskable. This amounts to a ‘putting the cart before the horse strategy’ in an attempt create an impression that the debate is already over and decided, leaving anyone not agreeing with that open to defamation as bigoted and transphobic, and that all reasonable people understand and accede to the foregone conclusion, such that we may just as well hop straight to the statute book without all the endless fuss and discussion.
In truth the answer to this question is blowing in the wind, because it’s very much dependent on what we mean by gender identity and who has the right to define it. If any man at any time in any place can declare himself female despite an obvious physical masculinity, and the law says that every single utterance thus has to be respected, then the demand for legally sanctioned free access to women’s private spaces is no longer reasonable, and represents an unfair and potentially dangerous encroachment on the right of women to both a decent level of privacy and an adequate level of security in their own private spaces. At the other extreme a man who has been consistent and unequivocal enough in his feeling of gender identity to have undergone the full transition could be unfairly compromised if he then finds himself(now herself) in the situation of being excluded from both men’s and women’s private spaces. In his/her case the demand for access to women’s spaces might be argued to be reasonable, or else alternatively that society should consider making a third category of private spaces available for people in his/her predicament. Any law in this area has to find the right balance which obviously won’t be easy and may even be impossible.
The long statistical denunciation Jamie and Shaaba go into in their video, on the reality of existing dangers, and how well the existing and proposed laws do or don’t guard against them is – almost by Jamie and Shaaba’s own logic of lived subjective experience weighing politically as much or even more than demonstrable science, – in many ways irrelevant. If women feel insecure we have to respect that even though the reality of the risk they face in having their exclusive spaces forcibly opened up against their will, may be provable to be less than their vocalized fears imagine it to be.
What trans exclusionists don’t tell you is that the Equalities Act that protects gender reassignment already has an exception in place to deny trans women of help from women only safe spaces like refuges . . . . . and even if the proposed amendments to the Gender Recognition Act get passed that will not change the way institutions implement safeguards to keep men posing as women out of women’s spaces.
Jamie and Shaaba’s word against JKR’s then. According to JKR the amendments will make it nearly impossible to reject someone who, in spite of a clear male resemblance may call himself a woman, from women only spaces, because no other criteria for acceptance as a woman will be necessary other than signing a statement that you are one.
The Scottish government’s proposals were as follows:
The removal of current medical requirements when applicants are seeking legal gender recognition;
The removal of the need to apply to the GRP. Instead, applicants would apply to the Registrar General for Scotland (“the Registrar General”) who already has a number of existing functions under the GRA;
Applicants must either (a) have been born or adopted in Scotland or (b) be ordinarily resident in Scotland;
Applicants must have lived in their acquired gender for a minimum of 3 months (rather than the current 2 years) before submitting an application for gender recognition;
After an application has been accepted by the Registrar General, the applicant would have to confirm after a reflection period of 3 months that they wish to proceed;
Applicants would have to confirm that they intend to live permanently in their acquired gender;
Applicants would still be required to submit statutory declarations, made in front of a notary public or a justice of the peace; and
It will be a criminal offence to make a false statutory declaration in relation to gender recognition and to make a false application for gender recognition.
So now the whole process would take six months and all forms of documentation would be replaced by a legally binding statutory declaration. What “living in your acquired gender for a minimum of 3 months” involves, and how an authority would actually corroborate it is anybody’s guess. It sounds like JKR is pretty close to the mark and it seems difficult to imagine how women’s refuges, whilst obeying the precepts of the law could effectively distinguish men posing as women from authentic trans women who, early in a transition process, might still very much look and behave like men.
For anyone in denial about the background for women’s concerns on this issue a long list of heinous crimes against women by men – not necessarily trans women but with various sexuality problems and always involving a proclivity to present as or fantasize as one of the opposite sex, has been assembled and made available here. It makes extremely unpleasant reading and distasteful as it surely is to produce such catalogues, it may nevertheless be the antidote necessary to get people to stop up and think a little more carefully about what it is they are proposing. Obviously one needs to balance information of this kind with Jamie and Shaaba’s undoubtedly bona fide assertion that trans people in the main are law abiding and non violent, but that dangerous men with serious mental problems exist, who either are trans or masquerade as such, and who constitute in particular a danger to vulnerable women, must not be trivialised. The danger may not have the magnitude some women may fear it has, but it is not fiction.
Furthermore it seems to be a cruel injustice to women that many of these crimes paradoxically end up being judicially recorded as women’s crimes, thus grossly misrepresenting women and falsely inflating statistics for the women’s crime rate.
That trans women also face dangers because of who they are, if that is indeed the case, (which I wouldn’t doubt) and that these dangers are comparable with the dangers women face, is not an excuse for denying the one in order to facilitate unilateral concern for the other. Jamie and Shaaba insist they are equally concerned about both, which they may well be at a personal level, but politically their video reveals a clear preference, and promotes a potentially dangerous precedent of willingness to subjugate women’s concerns to second place in the blind fervour to give trans women anything and everything they point to.
If predators really wanted to invade women’s spaces they can dress up as janitors, repairmen, they don’t even need to pretend to be women. (30min.)
Stupendous logic! So since they’ll get in anyway let’s make it even easier for them.
Why is it suddenly ok to assume that all trans women are just men pretending to be women who have malicious intentions towards women . . . (27.30)
A blatant “straw man”. Who is making such assumptions? Not I, not JKR, not anyone I’ve ever heard arguing for a realistic sense of decency and proportion in this difficult discussion. The majority of trans woman do not undergo reassignment surgery, I understand, and so still have their male genitalia, so their undressed bodies will still to a significant degree signal maleness, and there are strong and at least in part rational feelings bound up with age old taboos against the presence of male bodies in certain female only spaces. In the concrete situation no-one has insight into how a perfect stranger gender identifies, but the objective anatomical features leave no mistaking sexual identity. Traditionally changing rooms have always been segregated on the basis of sex and not gender, for that very reason; to spare women the discomfort, embarrassment and anxiety of being suddenly and unexpectedly alone in a room naked with a strange man. And indeed vice-versa. That it isn’t ok to assume that all trans women are just men pretending to be women with malicious intentions towards women, doesn’t make it ok to assume that it’s never going to happen or that it’s ok if it just happens a few times to a few women. Until some sure fire method for sorting the wolves from the lambs is in place it’s understandable that many women would prefer to err on the side of caution.
Further, even discounting malice, there is an everyday question of commonplace decency which needs to be addressed. Many – I daresay most – people, male and female, object to undressing in front of strangers of the opposite biological sex. This is both cultural and visceral; people don’t care a hoot which way – if at all – a stranger might gender identify, the discomfort stems from visual cues of sex difference. There’s nothing hateful and phobic about that, it’s due to just the perfectly normal, culturally imbued sense of modesty nearly everyone has.
A possible solution could be the simple one Jamie hinted at in his reference to the Marks and Spencers case, where he claims that M&S have responded basically by reversing the reported decision to open female toilets to any man claiming trans identity and providing separate toilets after all, for anyone wishing that. (Good for the woman who complained and for M&S who came to their senses and accepted the need for a compromise.) From now on instead of two we simply provide three separate spaces in public facilities. One for males, one for females, and one for trans. Or even two for trans if they also feel the need to segregate from one another.
Why do we not see trans activists campaigning for this simple solution? Why is it so imperative for them instead to force access to women’s spaces? There’s a litmus test here which serves to gauge how honest and sincere these demands really are. The rationale given out for the need to open women’s private spaces to trans women is their special need for . . what? Their dignity and self respect perhaps? Their safety and security? Jamie and Shaaba give us unfortunately no hint of whether the real dangers to trans women in men’s spaces is greater or comparable to the real dangers to women having trans women share their spaces. Regardless, would all these aspects and needs not equally well be satisfied by giving transpeople their own spaces? This is apparently what happened in the wake of the Karen White debacle at least. Trans women now have their own prison facilities separate from women. Shame that it took a couple of sexual assaults for the prison authorities to come to their senses.
What reason could the trans community have for rejecting this solution? If they do so anyway then alarm bells ought to start ringing, because it then becomes more transparent that some other covert agenda may be driving the campaign to invade women’s spaces. How should the impartial observer then hold back the sneaking feeling that in truth it’s not so much the coveted private spaces themselves which are the focus of the intense interest trans women display for access to these spaces, so much as the actual women in the spaces? Quite possibly in only the fewest instances as potential objects of prey, but perhaps instead as unwitting role models captured in potentially intimate and unguarded moments, thereby yielding valuable privileged insights, to one seeking an extra degree of feminine authenticity to transcribe to one’s own presentation as woman. This may not be a danger to women but if I was a woman I’m sure I would nevertheless find it lurid enough to want to be free of it.
But this is of course pure speculation, I have no idea really what’s going on in the heads of trans women and I don’t really care. What I care about is that women do not get sold short in the wholly uncritical and headlong rush to extend ad infinitum the privileges of trans women. If there isn’t a good reason for not accepting the compromise of private spaces for trans people instead of invading women’s spaces, then I can only assume the reason must be a bad reason. I feel no confidence in Jamie and Shaaba’s assurance that their ideology – if successfully translated into legal statute – will not continue to expose women to risks of the kinds mentioned above. Bang goes number two of their proclaimed preconditions for this discussion – they clearly prioritize trans demands over women’s stated and experienced fears and anxieties, which they shamelessly invalidate and delegitimize.
And we really need to explore the one sidedness of this phenomenon in much greater depth, that is to say why it might be that the only concern is trans women in women’s spaces whilst the converse on the male side of the sexual equation is virtually unheard of. The aggressivity of trans women demanding access to women’s spaces is completely absent on the other side. The reality of gender identity notwithstanding, might this tell us something about biological mechanisms pertaining more to one sex than the other, inadvertently kicking in, in the face of adversity, thereby giving the lie to the mundane and mindless jingle about trans women being women right down to the little fingernail? Is this some evidence that in spite of everything, hormones and all, there still remains some masculinity in trans women not frequently found in women? Indeed, were it not so, would we not expect the exact opposite to be the case? If aggression is a male characteristic and maleness more a quality of gender identity than biological sex, would we not then expect the aggressivity witnessed among trans women in their fight to open women’s spaces to themselves, rather to manifest itself on the side of trans men insisting on the right to men’s private spaces? Yet this is patently not happening.
As predicted, once the warped playing field for the debate has been chalked out, the “analysis” of JKR’s essay degenerates into a diatribe of ritual self gratifying iteration of the trans catechism, with long decoying statistical detours into some finer points in the essay; perhaps they are right in some of these objections – they are after all researchers and doctors of philosophy which JKR is not, but this pedantry completely overlooks and fails to address the main thrust of the essay. More than this they at no point succeed in, or even try, to find a quotation from the essay which directly demonstrates that JKR is transphobic. It’s all built on ideologically coloured inference, on who pressed which button on some moronic social media platform, and deduction by association. It is hardly surprising that no better evidence that JKR is transphobic can be provided, considering that she almost certainly is not. Yet that hardly matters to Jamie and Shaaba. A sacrifice is required by the high priests of TG ideology and a sacrifice they will have.
On the support for Maya Forstater two so-called ‘Tweets’ (written by Forstater who tried to sue for a court ruling that her beliefs were protected by law), briefly flash onto the screen and are gone again before you can read them.
What I am so surprised at is that people whom I admire, who are absolutely pro-science in other areas and champion human rights & women’s rights are tying themselves in knots to avoid saying the truth that men cannot change into women (because that hurts men’s feelings)
I honestly don’t see the difference between Rachel Dolezal’s internal feeling that she is black and a man’s internal feeling that he is a woman (i.e. adult human female). Neither has any basis in reality.
What is ‘transphobic’ about these statements? Really nothing. They are declarations of hate against neither individual persons nor a group of people. What they are is a challenge to a most definitely suspect ideology, and an expression of concern that otherwise well reasoned people seem all too easily taken in by it. Because after all if it is true that men cannot change into women, and that a man’s internal feeling that he is a woman has no basis in reality (I take this to mean that Maya Forstater is saying that such feelings cannot be objectively verified, since the word ‘reality’ usually does not – unless otherwise stated – designate a subjective reality which, by its very nature, can only be validated by the single person experiencing that reality.) then Maya Forstater is stating something that appears to her as it does to billions of other people, as simple fact, without – as far as I can see – attempting to defame or give expression to any form of hatred towards anybody in lieu of their professed gender or gender identity. Which kind of harm then is done which gives the epithet “transphobic” any substance here? Contrast this with – for example – the Nazis caricature of Jews as sub human. That was obviously both unverifiable and carried sinister implications of intent, and the epithet “anti-Semitic” therefore had grave and immediate meaning in this case. But “transphobic” is flung about so casually on such flimsy pretexts it’s virtually worthless in the majority of cases.
Perhaps what Forstater believes will one day turn out not to be true. A debate on the matter could be started, since some people obviously believe the opposite, (i.e. that men can indeed – or one day will have the possibility to – become women and have babies, and feelings of having a gender identity in conflict with one’s sex are incontestably real, in the sense that they will become traceable by scientific analysis to specific biological markers) but at the present time there is absolutely no evidential basis for claiming the debate is over, and that these matters are scientifically cleared up beyond reasonable dispute. Dismissing Maya Forstaters statements as ‘transphobic’ is not an attempt to win a debate through argument, it’s purely and simply an attempt to shut the debate down.
That MF lost the case to have her beliefs protected by law, because the judge ruled that her beliefs did not satisfactorily meet the fifth of the so-called Grainger criteria (to be worthy of respect in a democratic society as well as being not incompatible with human dignity or conflict with others’ rights) is really neither here nor there. The judgement rules that Forstater’s beliefs could indeed be seen to be in conflict with others’ rights (e.g. the right to believe oneself to hold a gender identity in apparent contradiction with the gender ordinarily expected to accrue to one’s biological sex)  and as such cannot be protected by law, but that does not make the beliefs themselves unlawful, immoral, libellous, evil or transphobic.
Recall here that Jamie and Shaaba agree that biological sex is real which unavoidably means that they are in agreement with Forstater that men cannot biologically become women. It is bizarre that they are allowed to say this and not be transphobic, and Forstater is not. Can this belief – even if you don’t yourself agree with it – be anything other than “worthy of respect in a democratic society”? Let’s be brutally honest here – a belief than men can biologically become women, at this point in history, is either far out futurism or else just plain cranky.
The judgement referred to merely declares Forstater’s beliefs unfit for protection, such that the law will not protect her against slander and insult which may come her way as a result of her expression of her beliefs. Which is of course how it ought to be in a free society; in just the same way as people who try to demand others treat them as one of the opposite sex to that which they were born as, because they believe themselves to be of the opposite sex in some vital way, may themselves have to bear the ridicule which they risk exposing themselves to, without expecting recourse to the law to silence their tormentors.
It may be harsh to lose your job as the direct or indirect result of having the wrong opinions and expressing them loudly; being an Everton supporter in a workplace full of Liverpool supporters could mean political wisdom would advocate keeping much of your anathema towards the Liverpool club to yourself, and not expecting to be able to fetch a lot of sympathy from the courtroom if you didn’t. (But then again something rather more fundamental and important to civil liberties than the codex of tribal honours pertaining to club football supporters is at stake here.) There is obviously a fine line between upholding your own rights as you perceive them and being wilfully antagonistic towards the rights of others as perceived by them. I haven’t studied the case (and don’t intend to) in such detail as to make a qualified judgement about MF’s redundancy. All I want to say here is that building a case for calling JKR transphobic on the back of this flimsy and circumstantial evidence, which is her expressed support for Forstater, amounts to medieval style witch hunting, and shouldn’t be taken seriously in adult company in a modern society.
They (the general public) are now (as a result of Rowling’s essay ) seeing trans people as a danger and an ideology.
In all likelihood JKR is very interested in alerting people to the potential dangers of this ideology, and since it does pose considerable dangers to a free thinking democracy, that can only be a good thing. However transgender people are not in themselves an ideology, and nor are they looked upon as such by thinking people. It is absurd to conflate these two things in this way. If you’re a critical thinker you will have no problem separating the people of transgenderism from the ideology of transgenderism and accepting the one and rejecting the other. But critical thinking it seems is becoming less popular, and this ideology also encourages that trend.
Saying that she’s literally killing thousands of people with her hate is an exaggeration.
And how! More accurately it’s insanely insubstantiable, and indicative of mass psychosis.
(Ken Zucker) compared trans kids to dogs eating dog food.
No he didn’t. Surely Jamie who has a PhD and five years research behind him is only playing stupid here, yet he is truly stupid if he imagines his audience is so stupid as to be unable to see through this pathetic ploy. Zucker said “If your child said he was a dog you wouldn’t go out and buy dog biscuits for him.” (Or would you?) It’s of course just an analogy coined to emphasize that just because your boy says he’s a girl doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy a dress for him. And isn’t this a rather irrelevant detour? It’s in any case not something JKR said and this critique was supposed to be about JKR’s transphobism wasn’t it?
JKR is right though. This climate of fear serves no-one’s interests. This fear against trans people . . .
Whoa! Stop Shaaba. You’re supposed to be an academic. You know very well this isn’t the fear JKR is talking about here, and this disingenuous twisting of JKR’s words does not reflect well on you. Anyone conversant with the English language and armed with just a modicum of ordinary intelligence will discern which fear it is JKR is talking about here, and that is not the fear of or against trans people per se. She’s talking about the fear actively created by the cult of transgenderism in its ruthless persecution of people who won’t adhere to the ideology. From the fear of losing your job, to the fear of losing basic rights (here the right of women as a collective homogenous class to define for itself what womanhood and femininity are) and ultimately of losing the human rights of democratic assembly and free speech to defend and campaign for those rights. That’s the climate of fear JKR is referring to.
Do you see how Baroness Nicholsen made it sound scary that actual men were going to come in and peek at actual women . . . do you see that trans people also can be the victims of voyeurism and that cis women can be the ones doing the peeking?
Around 12.15 in the video Jamie accuses JKR of sloppiness in relation to citations and sources. Here we see Shaaba committing the same error. Do we know of cases of ‘cis’ women peeking on trans women? Are they documented? Would keeping trans women out of women’s spaces solve the problem? (if it exists.)
You have every right to speak out against trans gender people but you can’t expect them not to speak out against you too.
Double whammy. First JKR is NOT speaking out against trans gender people. In some ways she’s speaking up for them. What she’s speaking out against is the miserable prototypical neo-fascistic ideology which follows them around, trying to de-platform and silence anyone who dares to ask questions about the most basic tenets of the faith. And secondly, more than most JKR is undoubtedly fully aware that insisting on asking these questions anyway is not only going to result in being spoken out against, but also is going to provoke torrents of the most vile abuse and physical threats. So rest assured – least of anyone in this debate would JKR be labouring under any illusion she might be treated courteously and civilly by the opposing side.
I didn’t wish to transition – I needed to, it wasn’t a choice.
Ok sympathy is called for here and sympathy is returned; it can’t be easy for anyone to be at war with their own body in this way, although I won’t pretend to understand it. Yet in an existential way it’s not quite true that it’s not a choice. Jamie could have chosen to struggle on with the body he had as a biological woman. Good for him if he’s now happier as a result of his choice, but what would he have done had he been born 100 years ago? Then you could truly say he had no choice and would have had to submit to being a she. Obviously there have been people before him who had to take this non choice, learned to live with it and perhaps even found a way to live a happy and successful life in spite of it. Everyone has some ghost or other they have to wrestle with in their darkest times, none of us are unique in this respect, and no doubt it’s a necessary feature of the whole great learning experience which human life is. We can reasonably expect that other people don’t savage us with innuendo and prejudice because of choices we make for ourselves which don’t affect them, but we can’t demand that they back up our choices to the point of suspending or altering their own choices and preferences to accommodate ours, by our appealing to a sense of moral righteousness and evoking the emotionally loaded sentiment “I had no choice”.
But of course what Jamie is also in fact saying here, whether by design or otherwise, is something far more radical. What he’s saying by stating he “had no choice” is that for him gender identity is not something you pick out of a hat, not something you can accept or reject, not an inclination you can adjust to incline a different way. It’s in fact something immutable, just as sex is, something you’re just born with and can’t change. And one of the implications of this of course is that there may be behavioural traits attached which are thereby also predetermined and unchangeable, making certain gender roles more “natural” than others.
Now this flies in the face, of course, of the social constructionist narrative which has dominated gender theory the past 40 years, which insinuated that you, as an individual, had the possibility to transcend this construction which society helped build out of you, and instead redefine your gender roles according to your own dreams. (assuming of course that those dreams too weren’t constructed but really are your own.) It begins to become obvious why feminism, which has struggled to help women realize their full potential as women by encouraging them to transcend roles which never were entirely their own, and reconstruct them, would look upon this new development with a goodly portion of dismay and scepticism. Because of course we are all part of the same humanity under the skin, so it can’t be the case that gender identity is immutable for some, but a social construct for others. This seems like a seriously backward thinking regression from a socialist/feminist point of view, which threatens again to send women back to the kitchen and the nappies.
I suppose some might say here that this is conflating gender identity with gender roles, and that identity could well be immutable whilst role would still be a construction. Perhaps, but if these are conceived then as two separate things, without any assumption of the first having any influence over, or interaction with the second, then it becomes even more mysterious what this nebulous gender identity entity really is. Apparently it would have no psychosocial function whatever, and is precisely no more nor less than what its owner says it is. So does that also mean that a person who doesn’t have an experience of gender identity, doesn’t in fact have a gender identity? If I can’t say to you that you are mistaken about your gender identity being that of a woman, then I suppose you can neither say to me that I am mistaken about not having a gender identity? Furthermore if gender identity is just what it is without anything attached why would it then translate into a necessity for those whose GI is at variance with their SI, to change anything about the way they physically present themselves to others in society? If GI doesn’t bear in itself any implicit role wish or ideation, then it really has no none-esoteric meaning and one should therefore in principle be able to live a content life being a man in one’s body whilst being a woman in one’s head, or vice versa. One would suppose. So this is probably not the case that gender identity can be conceived a separate thing from gender role. Which is hugely problematic since then either gender identity must be a social construct or gender role must have an element of inborn immutability. Yet the domain where – more than anywhere and if at all – we might expect to find gender roles genetically blueprinted into the female psyche, would be those bound up with securing the expression of the maternal instincts, so vital to the thriving of infants and the new-born. Precisely the domain of female identity trans women, by nature, are excluded from.
At the same time the gender identity thing also seems to contradict the narrative that gender is fluid and non binary. When people opt to physically transition it’s always from x to y or y to x, ie man <–> woman, never to something halfway, or a little bit of everything. When trans activists try to tell us that trans women “ARE” women, they are trying to say that the gender of trans women precisely does NOT land somewhere in between male and female. It lands exactly on the female end of the imagined spectrum, the same place as they believe women would describe themselves as inhabiting if women felt that they had a gender identity. And transitioning necessarily means that, because of course you couldn’t land anywhere else, since physiologically there’s no equivalent of feeling a bit of this and a bit of that. (Yeah, yeah, there are rare chromosomal abnormalities which may produce sex statuses which are ambiguous. But no transgender person as yet has identified as a Klinefelters man or a Turner syndrome woman. I’m not going to start a long treatise on that subject but only state my position which is that these exceptions for me rather confirm than break the biological dimorphic rule, and note that people who do in fact suffer from these conditions rarely consider themselves transgendered, and often object to their condition being misappropriated in this way to support an ideology they don’t agree with.) Instead, trans women especially seem to go to extraordinary lengths to acquire a body image, appearance and behavioural traits that match some stereotypical ideal they have of femininity. Such stereotypes have been blasted by feminists for decades as being oppressive and insulting to female integrity. It’s really not hard to understand why feminists aren’t really interested in an alliance with a group of people who seem to be struggling ideologically in a direction diametrically opposed to that in which feminism strives to go, and why feminism wouldn’t feel able or want to identify with them as an integral part of their sex identity. Politically, trans women are more of a threat to feminist ambitions than they are a potential ally.
Obviously though, if you want to promote the idea that gender identity is real and as valid a ticket to various social ends as sexual identity is, and in particular when some of those social ends include acceptance to be able to live as someone of the opposite sex, you’re forced into staking a claim of gender identity immutability. But then you can’t really complain if that gets you into hot water with feminists, when you try to translate that claim into real life demands which require that women therefore must stand aside to make room for you to indulge your project in order that you may attain the maximum possible experience of authenticity.
In the UK people under 16 do not receive hormones and then only providing they’ve been on “puberty blockers” for a year
One would certainly hope not. Regarding puberty blockers like Lupron there is considerable controversy over how potentially harmful these can be to children and adolescents health, but you’ll rarely find this controversy debated on trans positive forums and web sites. All you’ll read there is a reassuring “perfectly safe, like a pause button, stop taking them if you change your mind and then puberty will resume its course as if nothing had happened.” I’d certainly advise anyone to read all available material possible on this issue and not just one side of it. And to be wary of propaganda attempting to compromise stringency of standards and age limits for exposing children to the availability of all chemical and surgical facilities for mutilating their bodies, to achieve a sex change they may not truly want, or may only momentarily have wanted or thought they wanted, because some other psychological insecurity (something children and youth are notoriously prone to) plagued them for a while, and the mere availability itself seemed to offer an attractive and easy solution to the problem.
No trans woman is ever saying that there is no difference between women and trans women. (Round about 49.20 )
OK? – so why is it that so-called ‘cis’ people (and indeed some non ‘cis’ people, including even some trans gendered people who also oppose the activist ideology) get called out as transphobes for saying exactly that there IS a difference, and that it is therefore incorrect or pure nonsense to say that trans women are women? Because surely, is not the ad nauseam repetition of the “trans women are women” mantra (with emphasis on the predicative ‘are’) a mnemonic device aimed at inculcating a post modernist style cultural acceptance of it being legitimate to declare as an alternative reality the idea that there is no difference between women and trans women, despite being contrary to common sense and intuition? That if you show the endurance to shout it loudly and long enough, then you can wear down adherents of the well known familiar reality who want to maintain as truth the proposition that 2 + 2 = 4, and the truth can then become that 2 + 2 = 5? The predictable answer to the objection that it is bizarre to claim that trans women are women, when we know that they are men, will be that roses are flowers and so are tulips but that doesn’t make tulips roses. But that is an answer which, a priori, takes for granted that a radical conceptual corruption already has taken place, in that we no longer accept that women and only women are women, but that we now accept that the concept of woman has been expropriated so that “woman” no longer is anything other than a heading under which the differing types and categories of woman can be described – among others men who identify as women.
But “trans woman” is a proclaimed gender identity which “woman” is not. Woman can be – or rather have the gender of female (which could be many things, not necessarily objectively ratifiable) but woman is also irrefutably and not casually or incidentally a category of the class of sex. (Which can only be one thing, is objectively ratifiable, and is anything other than of marginal importance.) Woman is the one of the two sexes which human beings can be. What women and trans women have in common is humanity, what they don’t have in common is sex. The difference is anything other than trivial; a facetious statement such as “trans women are women” can only mean anything by way of a contrived trivialization of the real and vital difference between trans women and women. But we are assured that “No trans woman is ever saying that there is no difference between women and trans women.”
So what exactly are they saying? What is the difference then if it’s not that the sex of trans women is that of a man and the sex of a women is not? Why then are you criticizing JK Rowling for saying there is a difference? What exactly is a woman according to the theory of transgenderism? Why indeed is the falsifying and demeaning ‘cis’ monstrosity at all necessary for the trans narrative? Is not the effort to frame the denial that trans women are women, as a crime of bigotry and transphobia, precisely an attempt to erase the the most important difference between women and trans women from societal consciousness? Why isn’t it good enough just to say “Women are women” and “Trans women are trans women” and have done with it, if we’re honest in saying “No trans woman is ever saying that there is no difference between women and trans women.”? Why should we not thereby accept the decency of providing separate changing facilities for women and trans women? Seemingly we agree that there is a difference, yet the agenda seems to be to make it impolite (= transphobic in the trans ideological lexicon) to mention that difference or say what the difference factually is? Is the idea to make it ok to acknowledge the difference privately, and then publicly promote “the little white lie” just in case someone might feel offended? Why this fanatic campaign to enrol everyone in the creation of this carnival style illusion, and on pain of excommunication from civil society, compel us to tie our brains in knots trying to make a square into a circle, so we can, ad nauseam, regurgitate an empty absurdity as if we really believe that it means something? It’s Orwellian, it’s dictatorial, it’s totalitarian and has Eff all to do with socialist principles and progress toward a better, freer and more just and egalitarian world.
Here we ought also to point to the misunderstanding regarding JKR’s Simone de Beauvoir citation.
JK Rowling also picked out particular quotes of Simone de Beauvoir, but Laura Jane Grey perfectly encapsulated the cherry picking of information by sharing this quote by Simone: One is not born but rather becomes a woman.
Indeed! And how sadly misconstrued the quote becomes in the trans ideological verbosity mangle. Does anyone seriously believe that Simone de Beauvoir meant by this quote that one becomes a woman in the way trans ideology thinks you can become a woman!!? Surely there can be no doubt de Beauvoir meant that becoming a woman means growing up as a girl, living with and struggling against the gender role patriarchial society attempts to superimpose on women, from day one, to finally find yourself as true woman in your own image. That you need to be born with the sex of a woman to do this would have been – for Simone de Beauvoir – too absurdly obvious to mention.
Bang goes the first of the proclaimed assurances at the beginning of the video. We agree in principle that biological sex is real and that constitutes the essential difference between women and trans women, (without any implication that women are just uterus and vaginas) yet in practice we want everyone to work towards erasing that difference through an ever more rampant and repressive policing of the speech and thoughts of human beings, so that one sunny day we can arrive in the trans ideological heaven where biological sex – to all intents and purposes – no longer seems to be real, and everyone’s free to call themselves whatever they want. Although we’re not yet quite sure how, in this paradise a new set of the facts of life will prevail, so anyone will be able to make and have babies with anyone else, without needing to find someone oppressively defined as being of the opposite sex to have them with.
Intersectional feminism exists for a reason. Just like there are some experiences not shared between cis and trans women there are experiences not shared between black and white women. These are intersectionalities towards women and boiling women down to just people who menstruate and have vaginas is very reductionist.
Ah! Apples and pears once again. This false dichotomy comparing experiential differences between ‘cis’ and trans (i.e. biological) with experiential differences which are grounded on racial characteristics (social) as if there truly was any kind of comparability, between these different kinds of differences. But there isn’t. The experiential differences ensuing from unmitigable biological differences between woman and trans woman are of a completely different quality than the socially originated differences experienced by white qua black women. The first has everything to do with what it could and should mean to have the status of woman, according to various possible and differing perspectives on the issue, whilst the second has nothing or only peripherally to do with being a woman, and everything to do with what colour your skin is.
The straw man of “boiling women down to just people who menstruate and have vaginas” arose in connection with JKR’s Twitter response to an article in an online platform for foreign aid workers called Devex.com and was about the problems women in developing countries might face in respect of menstrual hygiene needs because of the pandemic crisis. The authors (three women) penned the title “Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate” for their article. JKR attempted to satirize this unnecessarily and absurdly stilted form of speech in her Twitter response, and immediately provoked a tsunami of invective calling her out as transphobic.
As we shall see however, things have got turned inside out; it’s actually the ideology of inclusion here which is behaving in a reductionist fashion. JKR’s satire had a serious and legitimate purpose which was to politically protest and expose the covert sexism inherent in a language form which insists on calling women “people who menstruate” and which for the purpose of justifying this sexist misuse of the language, uses the terrible and hypocritical excuse of being concerned with including people who don’t think of themselves as women but still menstruate, and not including people who do think of themselves as women but don’t menstruate.
What did she write? This:
‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud? ‘
OK so is she calling for trans people to be shot? Gassed? Burned? Lynched? Beaten up? Disinherited? Thrown out of their homes and work and schools? Refused service in shops, hotels, restaurants, libraries? Denied medical facilities, housing, insurance, bank accounts, loans? Deplatformed on their favourite social media? Shunted off to concentration camps or herded into ghettos and special segregated townships? No. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. And no. As far as I can see. She’s calling for none of these things. In fact for the life of me I can’t seem to see where the fear, the hate and the phobia is supposed to be in these few words.
What is she in fact saying? Simple enough isn’t it? She’s asking – what is this fake reservedness or diffidence which is making us suddenly shy away from calling things by their ordinary everyday names as we naturally and spontaneously used to, and have done more or less since we first descended from the tree tops and started to develop language? What is wrong with calling ‘people who menstruate’ women or – more pertinently – what is right about not calling them women. Menstruation is a uniquely female biological function. Not a single instance of male menstruation is known (at any rate to my knowledge) among any mammalian species. Homo sapiens are no exception.
I know, and JKR knows of course, that there are some people who, in spite of being unassailably biologically women, and in spite of regularly menstruating, nevertheless prefer to be regarded as of some other gender than female. That’s completely OK of course, but that’s their own choice, and it must then also be their own choice and responsibility to decide for themselves how they would react to an article about menstruation referring to the target audience as “women”, and whether or not to count themselves as addressed by it. As Shaaba pointed out somewhere in the video, freedom of speech is not freedom of consequence and that applies equally well to freedom of choice. Your freedom of choice to identify your gender as being the direct opposite of your sex, doesn’t make it incumbent upon the author of an article on menstruation to reword the article to fit your world view. Naturally an author may freely choose to do so, in which case they will expose themselves justifiably to ridicule and satire, because such language in being so unnecessarily bloated and artificial, often conceals a dishonest or even sinister sub plot. It’s totally inappropriate to begin to pontificate about hate and phobia and bigotry in such a context. Women menstruate and every person who menstruates is a woman in at least the pure biological sense even if in no other sense. Nothing about recognition of this fact has anything whatever to do with phobia or bigotry. Using the artificial construction “people who menstruate” instead of simply “women” is dishonest, in that in truth its concern is not so much the “inclusion” of minorities but much more insidiously the deconstructing and dismantling of the political concept of “woman”.
Nor is the recognition of this fact the equivalent of “reducing women to a uterus and periods.” On the contrary, what IS reductionist is the refusal to recognize the biology of women as exclusive to women, which distorts the discourse leading to and promoting in consequence the political unsexing of an homogenous biologically sexed group of people, and referring instead to them amorphously as “people who menstruate”. JKR is right to politically protest this dehumanizing discourse, and call it out for being sexist.
Of the thousands of Twitter responses here’s three which were not too vile:
I know you know this because you have been told over and over and over again, but transgender men can menstruate. Non-binary people menstruate. I, a 37 year old woman with a uterus, have not menstruated in a decade. Women are not defined by their periods.
The official Clue Twitter, an app designed to track menstrual cycles, also responded to the tweet, writing: “Hi @jk_rowling, using non-gendered language is about moving beyond the idea that woman = uterus. Feminists were once mocked for wanting to change sexist language, but it’s now common to say firefighter instead of fireman.
“It seems awkward right now to say “people who menstruate” but this is just like changing other biased language. Menstruation is a biological function; not a “woman thing”. It’s unnecessary to gender body parts and doing so can restrict healthcare access for those who need it.”
All these comments miss the point (probably quite deliberately). Transgender men can menstruate for the simple reason that they are, biologically speaking, women, and menstruation is a uniquely female biological function. However much we insist on the dismally unpoetic conceit that transgender men can menstruate this does not make the statement “men can also menstruate” a true statement. This fact isn’t erased by an absurdly convoluted redefining of ordinary and indispensable everyday words, with a history as old as the hills and meanings as clear as spring water, into something as dense, opaque and eclipsed of meaning as a Judith Butler text.
No indeed, it’s quite right that women are not and should not be defined by their periods and nobody’s saying they are. This is turning the arguments of gender identity sceptics upside down and inside out to make it look as if somebody wants to make a function a class and a class a function. The class is called “woman” and among the many things which being one of the class of woman is, is having the reproductive biological function be able to to receive and use male sperm in the process of conception, as a preliminary to the function of bearing and giving birth to children. By definition only women can do this, and people who can do this are, by the only available objectively definable criteria, women. (And please – no tedious pedantry here with your ‘whatabouts’. . . “What about this and that particular woman who for one reason or another cannot achieve this”; it’s a generality which is discussed here, which takes on board the obvious truth that not every single truly biological women necessarily here and now has to be fertile to be able to be called a woman, whereas by contrast the facts that no trans woman can conceive and bear offspring, and that no trans man has the capability to make a woman pregnant, are absolute and stone cold facts without exceptions.)
Nobody is hereby saying women are defined alone by their periods and uterus. But many are saying it’s ludicrous to maintain some pretence that biological attributes and functions are not essential defining elements of the classes ‘man’ and ‘woman’. Were they not essential then we could simply scrap the categories altogether and just call everybody human. But how would transgender people then fare when they no longer had an opposite sex to identify as?
Verily, the wholesale eviction and exclusion of women from their own political domain is the agenda for the most extreme misogynists. (Women Exclusionary Rabid Misogynists??) But the irony of course is that precisely insofar as they insist on creating space for trans women within the category of woman, the boundaries that contained and defined womanhood and made it what it was, have to be corrupted to allow that to be possible, meaning of course that the category no longer is the category trans folk dreamed of being a part of, no longer able to exhibit the same coherence, dynamism and reflexivity it could in its previous homogenous state. If men truly could become women then there no longer would be men and women, and we’d all be androgynes. It is precisely because men cannot become women and vice versa that the categories “man” and “woman” can live in necessary mutual symbiotic exclusivity, enabling themselves to inversely define each other, precisely by not being the other. Once you can become the other then there no longer is any other. Transgenderism is therefore shooting itself in the foot really in the long haul, by insisting on making the whole society afford permanent artificial respiration to an ideologized vision of an alternative reality which can never in practice materialize as self sufficient reality, because the minute it approaches realisation it will go into dissolution, and everybody loses out, including unfortunately those who least deserve to. Obviously, when women realize “inclusion” is not working for them, they’ll become creative and strong enough to regroup and invent alternative ways to reassert their political consciousness as, – and not defined alone by but in respect of being among all else – the one half of the two vital biological reproductive classes, which together ensure the continuation of the species. Transgenderism will thereafter be forced to develop its own political habitus instead of riding piggyback on the historical achievements of the struggles of women.
If the authors of the Devex-dot-com article felt themselves truly unable to distract themselves from the urge to measure up to such an absurdly hyper inflated political correctness, (who would have complained or even noticed anything amiss if their article had been titled simply “Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for women”?) or were simply afraid of a knock on the door by the thought police, then the only correct and honest vernacular to use in order to render a title which would both be inoffensive to the extraordinarily hyper-sensitive, and simultaneously true to the everyday lived human experience of billions of people on this planet, would have been “Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for women – including women with diverse other gender experiences.”
If feminists were “once mocked for wanting to change sexist language” they were at least robust and grown-up enough to answer back without feeling the childlike urge to “cancel” any heretic perceived to stray but a few millimetres from the politically correct path. However the comparison (attempting to blacken contemporary non-intersectional feminism by suggesting the opposition to transpolitical redefinition of womanhood runs against the grain of earlier feminist campaigns in opposition of sexist language) is in any case moot. Insisting on retaining and using the correct word for “people who menstruate” is wholly consistent with being anti-sexist.
More than just about any other possible alternative formulation for this title “Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate” is outright sexist in that it reduces half the world – regardless of how they want to gender-identify themselves – to a uterine function. Imagine an article with a title such as: “Creating a less awkward post-COVID-19 world for people who ejaculate”, and the absurdity and hollow pretentiousness of this form of speech quickly becomes apparent. The specious argument that this kind of language is “inclusive” because (biological) men, who want to be regarded (societally) as women, will otherwise feel “left out” when the word “women” is used in conjunction with an article dealing specifically with menstruation, bears witness not to any real imperative need to adjust our speech to avoid offence to a vulnerable minority, but contrarily to the inherent sexism in the distribution of societal roles and thereto proscribed language, which consistently denies the right of women to speak openly and honestly about all aspects of their experience of womanhood, and their exclusive right to define for themselves on the basis of this shared common experience what womanhood means.
For it is not the fault of women that trans women are denied the uniquely female experiences of ovulation, menstruation, conception, pregnancy, childbirth, motherhood and breastfeeding, and it doesn’t redress some age old oppression to remove discussion of such matters to some desexed universe of discourse, just so that trans women can more easily dodge confrontation with the facts of life, and more comfortably continue to nourish a complicated illusion they are attempting to create for themselves. On the contrary, in fact, it simply compounds existing oppressions of women or even adds new ones. Notwithstanding that the Devex.com article is actually written by women, it is nonetheless a quintessentially sexist attitude to opine that people who, from nature’s hand are denied these female experiences, should be given veto rights to dictate how, when, where and under which linguistic precepts women may discuss these things among themselves. Under a false flag of social justice and inclusion, the expression “people who menstruate” masks a novel yet still virulent and insidious form of sexism against women. That the women who penned the title to the article have naively bought into this false narrative, does not detract from the truth that this way of speaking dehumanizes women and delegitimizes their independent raising of a consciousness of themselves as a coherent and self representing political class of human beings.
Read once again the whole text of JKR’s Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud? tweet. Nowhere in it do you find anything hateful expressed towards individuals or groups of people aspiring to trans gender identities. Zilch. It is purely and simply a political protest against a particular perversion of language usage which militates against the right of women to express themselves, as themselves, in the way they feel and see fit, without being required to take into account other people’s takes on the concepts of woman and womanhood. So is political protest now to be banned simply by calling it ‘transphobic’ and ‘bigoted’? This is what is actually happening, and why it must be opposed.
People who are born as boys but wish for social acceptance as women must themselves take responsibility for how they will negotiate the natural barrier to such an ambition (the barrier that no-one biologically can change sex), without somehow giving women and feminism the blame and demanding further concessions from them, every time they meet a new practical or linguistic frustration with the project. The limits human biology sets on the realisation of the ideological trans gender project cannot and must never be used to deny women their right to discuss their biological functions as women, rather than as just “people who menstruate” (ominously reductionist), and likewise their right to incorporate their unique shared experiences of these functions in how they wish politically to define their womanhood. The attempt to use the offended feelings of trans women to blackmail women, when discussing their periods, into a false self identification as “people who menstruate” is nefariously sexist, and must be called out as such.
Similarly, it is not the responsibility of women to ensure the inclusion of “people who menstruate” but who would prefer to identify as other than women. Trans men know full well they cannot biologically escape being women, and as such are implicitly included in any discussion on female biological functions. There is simply no sensible grown-up reason for them to feel excluded or offended by the word “woman”.
“Menstruation is a biological function; not a ‘woman thing’. It’s unnecessary to gender body parts and doing so can restrict healthcare access for those who need it.”
Is it really possible to be so mixed up in your head? That’s sad. But it’s surely an inevitable consequence of indiscriminate over-consumption of transpolitical ideology.
And is it at all possible to be more arrogant than to say to someone “I know you know this because you have been told over and over and over again, but transgender men can menstruate.”? You have been told!! Just listen to that tone! Pure dictatorship. Your opinion counts for nothing – the only legitimate opinion you may have is the one we’re instructing you to have.
Resist. This bullshit has nothing to do with human rights, justice, fairness, equality, dignity, socialism or a future where mankind and womankind can at last look at one another as true social equals. It’s a cult with a program of domination in which women once again will be made to pay the price.
Her narrative seems to be that disliking being a woman means you could be a man if the opportunity was there. That’s not what it means to be transgender. People like that don’t transition and if they do they become a part of the tiny minority that de-transition. There are many checks and controls to go through to transition.
This is a response to the part of the essay where JKR makes some very personal and open disclosures about her own vulnerabilities as a teenager, and hints that were she such a teenager today, some sort of allure with transition possibilities as they exist today, in contrast to when she actually was a teenager, might have exerted some influence on her chaotic mind and existence. (Shaaba poo-poos this hypothesis with the very disingenuous claim that people also transitioned back then when JKR was a teenager, which indeed they did in very rare cases – but certainly only as adults over the age of 21, as well as the availability and surgical and medical techniques then and today, being in no way realistically comparable.) I must say it’s very disappointing to witness such an uncharitable carte blanche invalidation of these experiences from Jamie from whom – in the light of his own struggles – one might have expected a rather more sensitive and understanding approach. Neither does he offer a source to back up his information about transitioning not occurring with “people like that.”
I for one would definitely support the most thorough checks and controls possible, prior to any transition process involving children, who obviously don’t in every case, if ever, know exactly what they want for the rest of their lives. There may be a very few who do, and I certainly don’t have the knowledge to state how many, but if trends and demands towards slackening the controls increase, we risk getting into a situation where expertise and the wisdom needed, to be able to discern with the necessary degree of precision between children who definitely have, and children who only may have gender dysphoria, will be lacking amongst the professionals whose job it is to make these vital and extremely difficult judgements.
What then can happen is that the professionals themselves contribute unconsciously to the making of life changing decisions on the part of these children. It’s baffling that people who advocate for restraint in the indulgence of affirmative support for children who say they feel to be the opposite sex (or even just display a behaviour which doesn’t fit socially pre-ordained gender typical patterns), can get hounded as conversion therapy advocates, (consider the fate of Ken Zucker, a leading world authority on transgenderism) whilst the same critics of critics of effusive confirmatory approaches, will flatly deny the contention that affirmative encouragement to follow a path leading ultimately to radical, irreversible and unnatural alteration of bodily anatomy, could just as well be – consciously or otherwise – manipulative of a young, insecure and impressionable mind.
The developing minds of children are in constant flux. How could adults ever know for certain whether their affirmative tactics and responses, when a child expresses something (verbally or behaviourally) which could be interpreted to indicate gender dysphoria are not just that, – namely interpretations – which then sub-consciously serve to reinforce one particular nuance of a child’s natural and multifarious experimentation with it’s own identity, and which the child then responds positively to, because it gains love and understanding and lots of positive adult attention which may previously have been lacking? There will almost certainly never be a blood test for gender dysphoria – therefore we can never be too cautious with how we interpret, and above all how we react therapeutically, because the risk will always be there, that we react in truth not to the child’s real needs, but to our own adult interpretations of the child’s needs.
We should also be aware that bodily transition is not a treatment as such, for there is no known cure for gender dysphoria, and it comes with no guarantee that the process will relieve the dysphoria and bring happiness. The aim is just to make it easier to live with. That can be a worthy enough intention but demands of trans activism for the rest of the world to “play along” (e.g. to use gendered pronouns) might seem to indicate that physical transitioning is in itself not enough to capture the elusive state of real happiness. Turning a fantasy into a satisfying reality might involve not only changing yourself, but may necessitate changing the world around you too.
Despite Jamie’s knowledge on this subject I believe it would be a daunting challenge for him to be able to judge real from apparent dysphoria – supposing a new JK Rowling were born 40 years later and referred by worried parents to the clinic where he worked – to keep his own prejudices out of it, and to determine whether this child had a genuine dysphoria, warranting management by transition, or whether the best outcome could be attained by keeping hands off, and by doing nothing other than listening, letting natural development take its course and waiting to see thereafter what the result might be. I am afraid that his assumptions and biased interpretations would tend to become an influence which would then become self perpetuating and that the result would be a John Kevin Rowling, who would then never know what it would have been to be children’s author, JK Rowling, as intact woman, able to give birth to a child, the greatest of miracles.
Where this argument should really be going is making toilets and changing rooms completely individual . . .
Well . . perhaps we’re getting somewhere now. Actually in Scandinavia this is quite common now at least as far as toilets go. No male bodies however, are accepted in girls swimming pool changing rooms as far as I know. I don’t know how it is in Britain/US – in Scandinavia you have to shower naked before entering the water. It would be too libertarian even for Scandinavia to allow male bodies to shower with women. Libertarian of course is the wrong word here. It would simply be regarded as grossly inappropriate and a completely disrespectful trampling upon women’s rights to privacy. But if the facilities were individual it wouldn’t matter that trans women could use the men’s side and shower with the men would it? No-one would be any the wiser if they hadn’t begun a physical transition would they?
However the envisaged totality of individual rooms everywhere is rather utopian and could get complex. You couldn’t realistically rebuild every sauna bath for example and convert them to individual cubicles. Nor would you want to. Sauna bathing is a communal experience, which can easily accommodate mixed bathing for anyone who doesn’t mind that. But for people who prefer to bathe only with others of the same sex, (not gender) that possibility should also exist, even if that – in some weird and contorted way – then makes them ‘transphobic’. Men should have the possibility of bathing separately from women even if that makes them gynophobic, and women from men even if they then are androphobic. Personally, I’d share a sauna with anyone who behaves themselves properly, but not everyone is like me. Being truly inclusive can paradoxically mean accepting there’s a need for some people to have exclusionary rights.
Summa summarum is that the statement “Trans women are women” is as semantically empty as saying the moon is a star. The only way to make any sense out of such statements is to change the meaning of the word “star” and the word “woman”. Who the devil would be grandiose and self deluded enough to be able to convince themselves they have the authority to do that? The word “woman” just like “star” has a history of consistent and unambiguous meaning in all languages stretching back thousands of years as far as I know. Try travelling back in time 500 years as a man and running around telling people you’re a woman. You’ll be laughed under the table and then locked up or worse if you persist. Nobody would understand that it’s your gender identity you were talking about. If you’re into conspiracy theory you might even imagine the trans activist attempt to redefine perfectly ordinary words such as “man” and “woman” which everybody understands, into something nobody any longer understands, is one gigantic post modernist experiment – rather like the Milgram obedience to authority experiment which sought to explain genocidal behaviour in humans – to discover how far you can actually go with duping people, groups and even whole nations and their most ponderous institutions, into parting with their common sense, on pain of being otherwise perceived as bigots and transphobes.
Similarly, whether or not someone is “transphobic” is again entirely a question of what the word means. If hating people who are transgender – and solely because they are transgender – is the main criterion for transphobism, then obviously JKR is not, and nothing in her essay reveals or even raises a reasonable suspicion of transphobia. If you’re in doubt about that read it again, if indeed you ever gave it an honest reading to begin with. Nowhere in the essay is there even the shadow of a statement expressing hatred of transgender people. Some of the statistics cited may be incorrect or not up to date or debatable. But so what? That’s not a crime of hate. All you’ll find in the essay is a well formulated scepticism toward the activist ideology and behaviour purporting to speak and act for transgendered people, many of whom, by the way, like JKR reject this ideology, and apparently will deny that the movement speaks in their name.
That the combined intellect of the woke movement seems unable to grasp this distinction between an attack on their ideological blurb and hatred of transgender people, is at once, both amusing and disturbing. Their blind and blinding zeal echoes unmistakeably the tactics of ultra Zionist supporters of the state of Israel, who busy themselves tirelessly with combing media outlets for critiques of the behaviour of Israel toward Palestinians whose land Israel occupies, and then attempting to silence these critics by framing them as anti-semitic. The reaction to JKR’s essay lends credence to the thesis of many social observers that the new technology and life online leads to a dumbing down of culture and societal discourse, as witnessed in the attack on the Californian professor who got suspended for uttering a Chinese word that had a sound the students didn’t like. It’s difficult to imagine a more perfectly naked expression of raw stupidity, but there are even reports (no idea how widespread) of trans activism calling out lesbians for being transphobic for preferring not to date trans women (with or without penises). Believe or not, and my first instinct is not to believe it, yet the reports are there, and trans activist documents promoting such views are to be found. If substantiated such extremism reveals not just a little about how hopelessly societally out of order the mindset behind the trans gender activist ideology actually is.
But a large portion of the ‘woke’ mob had already condemned JKR before they ever read the essay if indeed they ever did, and there is a foreboding that she was never going to get a fair trial anyhow, and regardless of what she had written in her essay, the judgement would have been the same. In a free thinking and speaking world nobody should be defamed, castigated and pilloried for refusing to use the kind of Newspeak this movement tries to ram down our throats. And yet that’s the whole extent of the “crime” JKR is being witch hunted for. She refuses to adopt the abysmal post modernist ideological position that things are not what they are, that reality itself is a construct and language no longer the vehicle by which concepts of reality can be constructed, described and exchanged, but instead the tool by which actual reality itself is constructed.
If this is the precondition by which the crime of transphobia is adjudicated then – yes JKR is transphobic and so am I, and millions of others who hate and refuse to be dictated to in this way. Yet it should be considered libellous to draw automatic conclusions that because you refuse to digest this ideology and speak its language, then that is proof enough of your hatred towards a particular group of people. Even more so just because you pressed an icon on some wretched ‘social’ media platform, regardless of whether it was deliberate or not.
And that’s about it really, I don’t wish to spend more time on this storm in a teacup. Jamie and Shaaba’s “evidence” for JKR’s transphobism for me is shockingly shoddy and self serving, wholly reliant on “joining up dots” (as JKR so succinctly puts it) and so very far from convincing I can only say it is good luck it isn’t being presented as an academic dissertation in an academic forum, where it surely would be dismissed as being of scandalously low standard, and potentially legally libellous.
But then again would it? In a chilling likeness to the McCarthy period with its communist witch hunting strategies, it seems to be getting lapped up completely uncritically by press, government, publishers, media, universities and a host of key societal institutions including medicine for god’s sake, virtually unopposed, and brings to mind the H. C. Andersen fable “The Emperor’s New Clothes” in which everyone seems to agree on how splendid the Emperor’s new robes are until a child one day points out that the Emperor is, in fact, stark naked. People play along and even if they don’t believe any of it, convince themselves anyway that they see what they don’t see, to save their careers and be spared vitriol and harassment online and in public.
“Take that of me, my friend, who have the power
To seal the accuser’s lips.
Get thee glass eyes;
And like a scurvy politician, seem
To see the things thou dost not.”
(King Lear Act IV, Scene VI)
In contrast and opposition to Jamie and Shaaba, I’m very much convinced by JKRs essay that she isn’t in the least transphobic and, incidentally, I’m also pretty sure she’s not misguided either. JKR cannot and must not be taken to task for how a real bigot might misuse her essay to serve truly bigoted and transphobic ends. There’s an urgent need to restore sanity and the atmosphere of open honest enquiry in our society. None have highlighted this need better than those classic purveyors of pure insanity the Monty Python team who, way back in 1975, almost as if envisioned with the most astonishing gift of prophecy, 30 years in advance lampooned the coming woke movement in immortal scenes such as the witch trial scene from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”. The comic relief provided by such genius is priceless and speaks volumes more than I could ever say about this lamentable development in our society, because it demonstrates wokism for the regression it so clearly is, seen in the light of history. And thank goodness the MPFC team were around and able to produce such a masterpiece in 1975, because sure as hell they’d never get media backing to do it today. My hope is thus the restoration of this sorely missed sanity, preferably spiced with a liberal dose of Voltaire with his assurance that “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. This will only happen if sufficient of the silent majority actually make use of their democratic right to speak out freely on what they really think about this humbug. Therefore I’ll bow out taking advantage of Jamie and Shaaba’s gracious invitation to think for myself and draw my own conclusion and declare :-
Is there perhaps a weakness in these Grainger criteria in that my perceived rights truly might conflict with your perceived rights and your beliefs might conflict with my beliefs, but the notion that ‘beliefs’ can conflict with ‘rights’ is in fact comparing apples and pears? My belief that your belief is is pure garbage doesn’t affect your right to believe your garbage, and one might question how Forstater’s beliefs might be in conflict with anyone’s rights to anything. The implication of this judgement viewed in retrospect could be that in order to uphold certain persons’ rights Forstater (or indeed anyone else) simply may not hold certain beliefs (e.g. that sex is a biologically determined phenomenon.) Which would be directly in contravention of the basic principles of a free society. Neither does this particular Grainger criterion mention which rights are considered here as potentially open to harm by beliefs, and we must therefore assume most likely they are human rights generally which, however, Forstater’s beliefs by no means are in conflict with. Also what could “incompatible with human dignity” mean in this context? Whose dignity? Not the believer of the belief apparently. The dignity of the whole of humanity possibly? More likely the thought behind the judgement is that it’s the dignity of trans gender people which is compromised. Yet is that not rather presumptuous? When we consider that there are trans gender people who also are at cross purposes with the themes of the activist dogma and who are more likely to agree with Forstater that men cannot become women, that gender identity isn’t necessarily something immutable but could be an acquisition born of a growing, learning and socializing process? i.e. real enough in the sense of subjectively giving real emotionally authentic ‘identitarian’ (my neologism!) consequences, but not real in the sense of attaining to any material inborn specific neuropsychological entity. One might for example acquire an identity as a musician in accordance with one’s musical accomplishments and have a real feeling of identifying as a musician, and people might even say “it’s in the genes” “a talent he was born with” and so on, yet most will recognize such statements as figures of speech helping to emphasize the exceptionality of the talent, without having a direct and concrete understanding of there actually existing somewhere in the ether a specific musician identity which god or nature assigns to chosen individuals at conception. We understand usually that an identity as a musician is not inborn, but acquired through a complex socializing and learning process, even though a child already from a very young age can show a talent and express an ardent and consistent desire to be a musician. Thus the judgement that Maya Forstater’s ‘beliefs’ are in conflict with transgendered people’s ‘rights’ and dignity seems conceptually debatable and in any case dangerously close to being a selective judgement which cannot apply generally, but is only applicable to some trans folk.
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