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Richard Dawkins AHA Award Withdrawn

 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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26 April 2021 11:56
 

Why don’t we define as “man” someone who actually managed to sire a viable fetus, and “woman” as somemone to managed to bring a fetus to at least the second trimester?

That would be a clear definition that would leave everyone upset.

 
 
Cheshire Cat
 
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Cheshire Cat
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26 April 2021 13:12
 

I believe I’ve already answered the points Jan and weird have brought up.

Yes, gender is a psychological construct to a certain degree.

No, you don’t need to be genetically related to someone to be their adoptive parent.

“Then there’s the issue of semantics.  The words we choose.  We can acknowledge that there is a difference between the majority who are born with congruent identities and those who aren’t. But the words “real” and “true” could have the power to hurt even if unintentionally.”

Why would describing someone as a trans-man or a trans-woman instead of a man or woman be hurtful?

Is calling someone a gay man or a gay woman hateful?

I don’t think so. It is merely a clarifying description that has no judgmental meaning, or, at least, it shouldn’t. So, you are a gay person — well good for you. So, you a trans person — well good for you.

And again, as I’ve mentioned before, there have always been people who were not sexually binary, neither male nor female. They were either born with the genitals of both sexes, or felt compelled to identify with the opposite sex. And, so what? They are part of the human family. They have problematic lives. But why pretend that they are part of the sexually binary majority? Why not accept them for being different and just leave it at that?

Twissel, your definition of man and woman seems okay to me.

 
 
weird buffalo
 
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weird buffalo
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26 April 2021 16:10
 
Cheshire Cat - 26 April 2021 01:12 PM

Why would describing someone as a trans-man or a trans-woman instead of a man or woman be hurtful?

It’s not.

It’s saying they aren’t a “real” man or woman that is hurtful.  The reason being is that the “truth” and “reality” of what a transgendered person is is constantly called into question and used as a way of insulting them.  So, if you use language that (even unintentionally) reiterates those insults… it can be hurtful.

There have been cases where men have beaten or killed transwomen.  One of defenses that has been attempted in court is the “trans panic” defense.  The man felled defrauded by the transwoman, became enraged, and beat her.  The “truth” or “reality” of what she is is being used as a defense to justify violence.  Juries and courts have either acquitted or resulted in more lenient sentencing in some of these trials.  What you are doing is reiterating this same language and intent.  You are establishing that transgendered people aren’t “true” with what their gender is, and so continuing to carve out space in our language and culture for these hateful ideas to persist.

I understand that this is not your goal.  But if you want to make it harder for transphobic people to justify their actions, you will need to consider a different way to define gender.

 
weird buffalo
 
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weird buffalo
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26 April 2021 17:40
 

Are Traps Gay?

This is directly confronting the idea of “truth” and “reality” of gender expression, and some of why talking about transmen and transwomen not being “real” is a bad idea.

 
Cheshire Cat
 
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Cheshire Cat
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26 April 2021 21:03
 

Here’s the core of the problem that I see with your argument.

Male and female, man and woman, by your reckoning, are not biologically definable. Nor are they definable by gender or cultural norms. In fact, male and female, man and woman are not definable at all.

If I wake up tomorrow and decide I want to be woman, even though clearly I am not, nonetheless, the world should bend to my new definition of my gender status and obey my wish. I should be able to use the woman’s restroom, have my status at work changed to female, and insist everyone call me by female pronouns. And if they don’t, they are being hurtful and possibly putting me in danger.

This is clearly an absurd situation.

I don’t condone trans-women being brutalized or harmed in any way. I used to live in Hollywood and there were trans hookers all up and down Santa Monica Blvd where I used to live. I knew how vulnerable they were and felt sorry for them. No doubt some of them were probably beaten up or killed. But my act just now of writing this and designating them “trans-women” is not putting them in danger nor is it hurtful to them.

[ Edited: 26 April 2021 21:10 by Cheshire Cat]
 
 
weird buffalo
 
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weird buffalo
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27 April 2021 06:38
 
Cheshire Cat - 26 April 2021 09:03 PM

Here’s the core of the problem that I see with your argument.

Male and female, man and woman, by your reckoning, are not biologically definable. Nor are they definable by gender or cultural norms. In fact, male and female, man and woman are not definable at all.

That is not my argument.

 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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27 April 2021 10:10
 
Cheshire Cat - 26 April 2021 09:03 PM

Here’s the core of the problem that I see with your argument.

Male and female, man and woman, by your reckoning, are not biologically definable. Nor are they definable by gender or cultural norms. In fact, male and female, man and woman are not definable at all.

If I wake up tomorrow and decide I want to be woman, even though clearly I am not, nonetheless, the world should bend to my new definition of my gender status and obey my wish. I should be able to use the woman’s restroom, have my status at work changed to female, and insist everyone call me by female pronouns. And if they don’t, they are being hurtful and possibly putting me in danger.

This is clearly an absurd situation.

I don’t condone trans-women being brutalized or harmed in any way. I used to live in Hollywood and there were trans hookers all up and down Santa Monica Blvd where I used to live. I knew how vulnerable they were and felt sorry for them. No doubt some of them were probably beaten up or killed. But my act just now of writing this and designating them “trans-women” is not putting them in danger nor is it hurtful to them.

Male and female are biologically definable, but it is also true (scientifically) that there are people who biologically do not fit into these ‘norms’.

I don’t think one wakes up one day and decides, rather it is an awareness over time which then follows with a decision not to conform and to be themselves.  I think someone would have to have gone through this to truly understand what this would be like, so I think it’s up to the rest of us to just try to understand as best we can.

(I personally know only one transgender person, who I first met as a young child – a sweet and withdrawn little girl who lacked self-confidence.  They(he?) is now a non-binary male(?) – has taken a male name and outward appearance is male – but apparently does not completely identify as male and has politely stated a preference for ‘they/them’ pronouns (but hasn’t bat-an-eye when any of us, including me, have misspoke).  Yes, this is VERY confusing.  They is now a self-assured, happy and nice young adult who is interesting and engaged in life, who has a partner and a career.)

Like any group of people, especially during transitional times, there’ll be a minority who are more aggressive in their fight for acceptance and equality.  Who’ll take offense even when it’s not intended or demand more than is realistic.  But I presume that for the majority, just treating them like everyone else, without expectations that they must conform to specific roles, is all that is needed.  That is not to say that they don’t also have a responsibility to be understanding and tolerant.

Again, there was no criticism of your use of ‘trans-women/men’ – it was your use of ‘true’ and ‘real’ that was being challenged.

 

 
 
Cheshire Cat
 
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Cheshire Cat
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27 April 2021 10:47
 

Well said, Jan.

 
 
weird buffalo
 
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weird buffalo
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27 April 2021 11:15
 

I would suggest that male/female are not the same words as man/woman.  To start with, we spell them differently.

The majority of the time, the words do line up and mean the same thing, but they also diverge in key ways.

In the science of biology, male/female have certain definitions, but the majority of the time, most humans do not speak in scientific definitions.  While these scientific definitions exist and are useful, they are primarily useful for science.  Every day colloquial usage of words can and will vary tremendously from scientific usage (see the word “theory” for a great example).

The biological definition also fails to capture the idea of a spectrum of norms and behaviors that can be used to typically define what is man/woman, but this spectrum is not a binary… obviously.
Most American Football fans are men.  But not all fans are men, and not all men are fans.  And yet, we understand that stereotypically, a football fan will be male.
Women are more likely to be caregivers.  But not all caregivers are women, and not all women are caregivers.  And yet we understand that our society will usually assume that women have caregiver tendencies.  And this doesn’t mean that if you don’t like football, are a caregiver and have a penis that you’re a transwoman.  I am highlighting that there are a host of non-reproductive associations with gender that have nothing to do with biology.

Here’s what I am actually arguing:
Sex is better for referring to someone’s reproductive capabilities.
Gender is better for referring to the cultural roles (often associated with sex) that a person adopts.

For the majority of people, whatever word categorizes them for one will likely match the word that categorizes them in the other.  Cis male is someone who has the sex of being male AND broadly conforms to the gender of man.  A transman would then denote someone who at one point had female reproductive organs, but now identifies with the cultural norms of being a man.  A transman is a man, because being a man is a culturally defined gender role.  A transman is not (within the definitions of the science of biology) male, because they don’t have male reproductive organs.

People aren’t arguing to change our understanding of the science of biology.  They are arguing to alter our cultural norms.  And so replying with the concept of the science of biology is to not address what is actually being argued.

 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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27 April 2021 11:18
 
Cheshire Cat - 27 April 2021 10:47 AM

Well said, Jan.

Thanks, CC.

 
 
Jefe
 
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Jefe
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27 April 2021 11:27
 
weird buffalo - 27 April 2021 11:15 AM

People aren’t arguing to change our understanding of the science of biology.

Some people (not necessarily in this thread) mis-use poorly understood science to argue a false-dichotomy of m/f biology.  There are a variety of chromosomal combinations outside of the lay-understanding of xx/XY archetypes presumed by some.  A geneticist would be able to clear up some of these questions for anyone willing and interested in learning.

I also feel that trivializing decisions and challenges faced by transexuals (not necessarily in this thread) is less than helpful when discussing differences and attitudes.

 
 
Cheshire Cat
 
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Cheshire Cat
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27 April 2021 21:27
 
weird buffalo - 27 April 2021 11:15 AM

Here’s what I am actually arguing:
Sex is better for referring to someone’s reproductive capabilities.
Gender is better for referring to the cultural roles (often associated with sex) that a person adopts.

For the majority of people, whatever word categorizes them for one will likely match the word that categorizes them in the other.  Cis male is someone who has the sex of being male AND broadly conforms to the gender of man.  A transman would then denote someone who at one point had female reproductive organs, but now identifies with the cultural norms of being a man.  A transman is a man, because being a man is a culturally defined gender role.  A transman is not (within the definitions of the science of biology) male, because they don’t have male reproductive organs.

People aren’t arguing to change our understanding of the science of biology.  They are arguing to alter our cultural norms.  And so replying with the concept of the science of biology is to not address what is actually being argued.

That clarifies a lot. You see things in more of a sociological context as opposed to biological view.

 
 
weird buffalo
 
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weird buffalo
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27 April 2021 22:14
 
Cheshire Cat - 27 April 2021 09:27 PM
weird buffalo - 27 April 2021 11:15 AM

Here’s what I am actually arguing:
Sex is better for referring to someone’s reproductive capabilities.
Gender is better for referring to the cultural roles (often associated with sex) that a person adopts.

For the majority of people, whatever word categorizes them for one will likely match the word that categorizes them in the other.  Cis male is someone who has the sex of being male AND broadly conforms to the gender of man.  A transman would then denote someone who at one point had female reproductive organs, but now identifies with the cultural norms of being a man.  A transman is a man, because being a man is a culturally defined gender role.  A transman is not (within the definitions of the science of biology) male, because they don’t have male reproductive organs.

People aren’t arguing to change our understanding of the science of biology.  They are arguing to alter our cultural norms.  And so replying with the concept of the science of biology is to not address what is actually being argued.

That clarifies a lot. You see things in more of a sociological context as opposed to biological view.

Because the majority of our culture doesn’t have a Ph D in biology.  Therefore, using terms that strictly only apply to the science of biology isn’t useful.  Man and woman are words that are used in numerous contexts that have nothing to do with science of biology.

And remember, the science you are referencing was only starting to be discovered in 1882.  For hundreds of thousands of years we defined gender roles with no ability to determine chromosomes.

 
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