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Having no skin in the game, I never gave "trans women are women" much thought. When I finally did, I gravitated to "trans women are trans women", which seemed fair enough, if no more satisfactory than "Brexit means Brexit" ever was. It took a marathon session of Magdalen Berns vlogs this past week to help me make the leap to "trans women are men". This is no leap at all unless you usually try to start from a position of empathy.

I have the former Rachel McKinnon to thank for introducing me to the late Berns (and the Mumsnet feminism chat board, which installed a shrine to JK Rowling this summer, for igniting my interest in this knotty subject). Rachel, who has since changed his name to Veronica Ivy, gave an indication of his empathy levels by his reaction as Berns lay in hospice for the glioblastoma which took her life almost a year ago.

McKinnon/Ivy called her "a trash human" and said "maybe live by the maxim whereby, 'Don’t be the sort of person who people you've harmed are happy you're dying of brain cancer'." Words aren’t literally violence as some in the debate are insisting, but the professor does tend to favour violent words.

Her Thighness struck gold in womens cycling. Anyone who follows sports knows this, so needless to say it was news to me. As Spiked put it: "It sounds like a great achievement until you realise that Rachel is a six-foot-tall, 14-stone bloke." That @DonaldJTrumpJr also rolled his eyes is perhaps no surprise, though raising a son who gets it is still not quite a good enough reason for me to vote for his grabby dad this November.

Sorry seems to be the easiest word

"If you want to understand why this topic is so complicated and emotionally charged, please read on. If you want to yell and scream, go back to Twitter," wrote a sympathetic Fred Dreier, whose tweets are a model of decorum. I don't have any skin in that game, either, but even allowing that there are six-foot-tall 14-stone birds, it's my considered opinion that women should not have to make room for men in their sports – including men who no longer have all the bits they were born with (which apparently isn't the case here, or indeed, for most transfolk).

It's up to men to share their spaces with people who do, after all, share their chromosomes. Activists who would storm the gates to XX might at least ponder Chesterton's fence:

--- Quote ---In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, "I don't see the use of this; let us clear it away." To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: "If you don't see the use of it, I certainly won't let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.
--- End quote ---

Magdalen Berns, monotoned boring transphobe to those who have no appreciation for devastating logic delivered in deadpan, is now beyond cancel culture. For anyone else late to the party, here's a taster.

The truth: we all have skin in that game.

Moving on from dogmatic mantras, she or he is fine with me

as long as they aren't being a click. I refuse to enter the reality distortion field of outliers like Veronica and Riley, who require a suspension of disbelief too far to engage with on their terms. In Riley's case, it isn't so much the laryngeal prominence as it is the covert aggression, cringey inauthenticity, and twisted intolerance. (The unrelenting jump cuts also do my head in, but it is the way of things.)

Of the many replies to articles and blog posts and videos I've now consumed on this subject, the winner for pith has to be: "I'm not buying what you're selling."

Apologies to those expecting a post about flip-flop hubs.

Know Your Lingo
A refresher.

Everything is transphobic

Boys vs Women
Male High School Athletes vs Female Olympians.

Fact Checking a Widely Shared Rebuttal of J.K. Rowling
"After all, you’d have to be an insane pedant to go through the whole thread trying to correct the record. So, let’s begin." Part 2 (there are 4! – perseverance is amply rewarded) includes the best dissection of 'cis' I've ever read.

Somewhere over the Rainbow, something went terribly wrong
"Definitions matter. Respecting people, matters. Criticising bad ideas also matters."

An Open Letter to the Friend Who Thinks I Hate Transgender People
Sufferin' succotash.

See also The Many Lives of Jan Morris. Subscription or incognito mode required. Note to self: read everything Morris has ever written.

Is Julia Serano right that transwomen are female?
Medium appears to have taken a position on the matter.

I Am a Transtrender and so can you
To live outside the law you must be honest.

Riley J. Dennis Is An LGBTQ Educator
We're all getting an education.

--- Quote ---You "educate" people by making reasoned arguments and providing evidence to back up any specific claims. Then you listen to people's responses to that, questioning any weaknesses or illogical reasoning, and then respond with further clarifications or thoughts to counter. And so on until an understanding of each other's viewpoints is reached.
- AssassinatedBeauty
--- End quote ---

A Pineapple is Not a Broken Orange
Talented speaker, but TMI, and almost certainly a crowd of the unwary. Cassie doesn't handle discussion (as opposed to cheerleading) too well, which is fairly typical.

On Gender, Blurring the Line Between Dogma and Farce
"The current spasm of social panic..." I find the word spasm triggering.

Decoupled from reality
That train has left the station.

Can I ask trans women I'm dating about their genitals?
The comments offer some relief from the advice on offer.

--- Quote ---I kind of feel like shock or surprise shouldn't be part of the experience of undressing with someone you're about to have sex with.
--- End quote ---

--- Quote ---Put down the penis, and come out with your hands up.
--- End quote ---

--- Quote ---Expecting people to be attracted to equipment that they're simply not attracted to is -- well, let's call it quixotic.
--- End quote ---

Yes, it’s Wrong to Tell Trans People
You Don’t Want to Sleep With Them Because of Their Genitals
"I would never tell anyone who they should be attracted to. But."

The Secret Internet of TERFs
Fox News dropped "fair and balanced", The Atlantic picked it up. Worth it to find Sarah Ditum.

J.K. Rowling and the Echo Champer of TERFs
Slate are clearly sold on the agenda, as is the author on his talents. Keep an eye out for the tireless JennyAnyDots; marvel at how she's largely ignored.

Responding to J.K. Rowling’s Essay
I settled in for an hour of enlightenment, but got stuck on the Maya Forstater coverage starting nine minutes in, which included a brief shot of her "very clearly transphobic" tweets. With a fundamental disagreement on what constitutes transphobia, there seemed little point continuing. YMMV.

Responding to Jammidodger's attack on JK Rowling: Part 2
Looks like I'm not the only one who had a problem with that. (Here's Part 1 of 4. Alas this excellent response has a small fraction of the views it deserves.)

World's first Transgender MMA Fighter
Quite a speciman.

Inspiration Profile: Pips Bunce
Not technically a wanker banker, but close.

Why I'm Not Getting "The Surgery"
Disproves that old adage that men seldom make passes at girls who aren't lasses. Honestly educational. I've assumed cost was the main reason for not going all the way.

So, About This Surgery
Are you sure you want to be scrolling down, braveheart?

Forget What Gender Activists Tell You
Hard to forget.

Girl Dick, the Cotton Ceiling and the Cultural War on Lesbians and Women
You had me at girl dick.

A Glossary Of Transphobia
Speaking of which.

100 Ways to Make the World Better for Non-Binary People
"Embrace the contradictory and confusing." Sure thing, boss.

--- Quote ---42. Give your pet gender-neutral pronouns like "they." This is awesome practice. (And ask me about my rant on how we can never know animals' genders since they can't speak to us...)
--- End quote ---
So many teachable moments, so little time.

"Gender Fluid" Person Confuses Everyone
Nicky Campbell needs to be drowned like a kitten. That said, I wasn't confused. Maybe a word that rhymes with confused.

disclaimerGoogle informs me that "needs to be drowned like a kitten" has never before been uttered online, which comes as a surprise. The phrase popped into my head and refused to be forgotten. For the sake of clarity, I do not condone the drowning of kittens, television presenters, or indeed any living creature, no matter how hapless. Embracing the contradictory and confusing can go too far.

Next on INSIDE edition: Fisherman found guilty of staging kitten rescue video[close]
Why transgender people are ignored by modern medicine
A cautionary tale of getting what you want, and getting it good and hard.

Things Not To Say To A Trans Person
Annoying in that special way the BBC has of bringing it out in people.

First Day
Did someone mention shameless?

Ah, the perils of top tubes

It's not complicated
That a person can spend as much time as I have wondering if the M in TWAM should be Men or Male shows just how complicated it has become. It should probably be the latter, but it doesn't really matter because both are considered transphobic.

I've Given Birth, But I Am Not My Children's Mother. Where Do I Belong?
Possibly on a different site.

Call 'em They
You get one yes. Choose carefully.

May the Force be with thee.

There's no such thing as a non-binary haircut
Another reminder that history rhymes.

Do I need a haircut? There's a binary answer.

No, misgendering me is not okay or justifiable. Yes, this is a big deal.
That I value civility and thus can live with a degree of cognitive dissonance in aid of those suffering from dysphoria does not mean I agree that corporeal reality must be cast aside in the race to a brave new world.

"Am I not a woman like they are?" asked Amelia in 2014, to which the answer is of course no. A few years later he was sliced all the fuck up, and although that doesn't change inconvenient biological facts, she's gone some distance to earn the pronoun. I would be more impressed if s/he had been a better sport all along and competed with men.

In The New Transgender World, Women No Longer Exist
"The only way ensure that everyone who knows she is a woman is treated as a woman is to destroy any definition of what it is to be a woman. Is this so hard to understand?"

Assigned Male
Usually found preaching before a congregation of straw men. Here's a good critique. This one's a bit more fun.

Barry makes comics
More straw. More men.

Motorcyclist Who Identifies As Bicyclist Sets Cycling World Record

Why J.K. Rowling must die
With handy flowcharts, if screenshots aren't enough.

I Am A Transwoman. I Am In The Closet. I Am Not Coming Out.
"Forced to carry multiple perspectives like bactrian humps" isn't a sentence you read every day.

Are Pronouns Important?
"Sometimes I misgender myself."

Eddie Izzard Publicly Requests ‘She’ & ‘Her’ Pronouns
Collective gender euphoria, here we come.

Not so fast.

Can't a girl mode ride her bike in peace without a big song and dance being made about it?

For the Eddiefication of those who think he's a better catch in boy mode

We need to talk about Ellen Page
OK, I'm listening. "Cheer, hit the ‘like’ button, don’t think too much about it, the marching orders go... And leave it to Big Tech to immediately correct the historical record in Elleniot’s service. There was never someone named Ellen and Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia."

Chloe Dygert apology for social media conduct “not sufficient” says Rapha
Definitely not buying what they're selling.

Cat Graffam
"i always land on my feet & throw up on the floor". I'd buy what she's selling.

Gender is not a spectrum
"I too believe my thoughts, feelings, aptitudes and dispositions are far too interesting, well-rounded and complex to simply be a 'cis woman'. I, too, would like to transcend socially constructed stereotypes about my female body and the assumptions others make about me as a result of it..."

From the comments:

--- Quote ---I find several things wrong with this article.

The first is that the subject of the article suggests an unwholesome self-absorption and self-centredness. Practically all of us have things about us that are socially or intimately awkward. But, most of us, we do not indulge in marathon sessions of introspection in an effort to find out how we would like the world to treat us. In my experience the world, unless it has some political interest it treating you otherwise, will treat you as it wishes.

The second is that it is entirely from a feminine point of view. The author is either speaking for men, dismissing them as inconsequential or simply branding them as ‘the oppressor’. As a working class male my perception of social and cultural reality is entirely different to hers. I have been oppressed by both males and females when they had power over me. Oppression is not the exclusive domain of the masculine male, it goes with the power whether it be physical, financial or economic.

Nature doesn't care how we identify. It assigns us a role in the interests of reproduction and how we handle that role decides the chances of the continued survival and development of our genes. In the general melee of survival some class of society will develop invariably with a pecking order based on strength of some kind. Eventually social and cultural conditions become expressions of the balance of power in society and culture. Whatever that balance is the one certainty is that some of those in power will be oppressors. If feminists currently feel empowered and powerful then, for sure, they are oppressing. But they do not seem to mind.
--- End quote ---

--- Quote ---"We are dying chemical reactors powering about 4 quadrillion binary logic gates."
--- End quote ---

Should Cis People have the Same Rights as Everyone Else?
The indefatigable Katy Montgomerie tries her hand at satire.

A short dialogue with oneself
Addressing The Claims In JK Rowling’s Justification For Transphobia

--- Quote ---Being called a TERF, or transphobic, isn’t an insult. It’s not a bullying tactic. It’s not the same as saying someone has fleas. It’s a description of someone whose views come from a place of irrational prejudice of trans people.
--- End quote ---

Thanks for clearing that up.

--- Quote ---Just how when we are discussing gay rights, women’s rights or the rights of people of colour, pointing out homophobia, misogyny or racism is the first step towards a rational discussion, calling out irrational prejudice of trans people is the first step here.
--- End quote ---

Go on. I mean, you’ve lost me, but I’m still here.

--- Quote ---There is no denying that all of these accusations are sometimes overused or mistargetted, but that isn’t an excuse to instantly shrug them off every single time they are pointed out. How can we discuss an issue that is undeniably, demonstrably surrounded by irrational prejudice if we aren’t even allowed to call that out for what it is?
--- End quote ---

We may have found common ground.

--- Quote ---You cannot address oppression if you cannot name your oppressor.
--- End quote ---

You shall overcome, eh?[close]
Tulsi tweets the truth
The truth hurts: it is known.

Umberto Eco & The Bunnymen
Earns a link for the handle alone.

Not a promising start, but went on to raise some smiles.

Public Pronoun List
Truly a public service.

Pronouns are about power

Can someone please explain…

--- Quote ---A suggestion OP. If you read any of the posts on this thread and find them to be describing things that don't seem to make sense or are incomprehensible feel free to assume that they're actually wrong rather than assuming that there's some profound complexity you don't understand.
--- End quote ---

TERF's Original Sin
Guilt-by-association time again. Bonus points for 'Sonderkommando'.

Bunburys Eighth – Sealion training for beginners
Mumsnet community disruptors watch, one of a series. FWR reminds me of HPC: true believers I happen to agree with, but seemingly a despised minority. Though it remains to be seen how much of a minority they are.

"Trans men are men. Period." You're seventeen, so you should know.

Are we the baddies?
Are you spewing hatred and abuse at everyone who has the temerity to disagree? Do you often find that violent imagery is necessary to get your ideas across? If not, then probably not.

--- Quote ---Women are not an identity. Not a feeling. Not a legislative status to be awarded with a certificate. We're the people who are born and die female. No lie will ever be powerful enough to cover that reality. Not ever.
--- End quote ---

--- Quote ---I really like to live and let people live their lives as they see fit, so long as they're not actively hurting people in the process. Sometimes this thought creeps into my mind because I want to help people who are so disassociated from their own bodies that they feel like an alien trapped inside of a shell. I especially want to help because I've been there. I've had those thoughts and I've had those feelings. For a long time, being against trans was like being against LGB for me; what place did I have to speak on behalf of other's pain and experience, or to deny them of treatment that they said was required?

What it always comes down to though is that the LGB movement genuinely supported loving yourself as you were, that you could be who you are, in the body that you have, loving the people that you do, and that it was OK, that it was innate, that it was normal. Accepting same-sex attraction requires that everyone change absolutely nothing. A woman dating another woman affects no one but the two people in a relationship, unless you're simply morally outraged. The trans lobby instead tells you that if your mind doesn't fit a certain criteria, based on literally anything, then you need to change yourself. It pushes that it's normal to hate your body, and that to love your body, you need medication, surgery, and treatment for life. It normalizes self hate in the guise of self acceptance. On top of that, it requires everyone else to capitulate in both language and actions. Changing how words are used and what they mean, and forcing others to be quiet about their discomfort and needs for safety.

I will never feel wrong about opposing a movement that pushes for the normalization of experimental cosmetic surgery on children and teens. I will never feel wrong about opposing a movement that enforces gender stereotypes. I will never feel wrong about opposing a movement that disregards genuine safeguarding concerns. I will never feel wrong for opposing a movement where any critic or call for discussion is met with overt aggression and threats.
--- End quote ---

UK census, a thread
Provided as an example of uncivil discourse. Look for replies to GottogetaGRC. Transphobic? No. A bit mean spirited? Yep. Goady, in the parlance. Not all, but some. "Word it in a particular way and you will get a better response." Yep.

Laé D. Boi
Not related to La-Z-Boy AFAIK. Do tell us more about the subtle nuances of being a woman.

My Pronouns are Fluid and My Identity is Solid
Utterly exhausting.

My Existence Is Not Up For Debate
Not gawking but yawning.

The Missing Link
I'm glad you exist, Emma.

“because transphobia”

--- Quote ---Had I killed myself, activists could have dug into my life and saw that I was raising money for top surgery, and that my parents didn’t want me to transition. Had I killed myself, my story would be PERFECT for trans activists to drive home their point. Had I killed myself, all of this would be erased. My own parents might have regretted the way they fought for me. CNN might have shown my picture and lamented the transphobia that killed me. I would cease to be a complicated individual in need of well rounded, compassionate help
--- End quote ---

The Wrong Kind of Trans
Derivation of 'quisling' only necessary insofar as Godwin’s law must be obeyed.

Basic Biology
Somehow Controversial.

Debunking the ACLU's '4 Myths About Trans People'
Another institution captured.

The Sacred Androgen: The Transgender Debate
Yeah, this didn't go over too well.

Tavistock trust whistleblower David Bell
What doing the right thing looks like.

First Dog On The Moon, Fixed
The Guardian giveth, but mostly they takeath away.

Dear Teen Girls: Leave the Vulnerable Kids Alone

Owen Jones vs Robert Webb
A Witchfinder General's work is never done.

This is an essay About Penises
That was an essay about a dick.

When I Think About You I Terf Myself
Not going gently into that good night. (AGP = autogynephilia)

Let's Have No More Talk of Dysphoria
Follow the money.

How is it "gender critical" to impose rigid binary social categories based on sex?
Dive right in.

Transgender ideology
Always more links.

"I invite you to disenchant all of my fairy tales."

--- Quote ---Things like “Gender identity”, “born in the wrong body” or “TWAW” really are incredibly effective and misleading linguistic tools being used to justify the notion that Sex is irrelevant and that male and female are mere identities.
– Lorelei
--- End quote ---

By now you'll know there's a battle between TRAs and TERFs.

TRA = Trans Rights Activist
TERF = Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist
Mumsnet TERF = "Tired of Explaining Reality to Fuckwits"

You need a special shirt to be a feminist.

I might be able to fit into one of these

but you don't go to Mumsnet for peace and quiet, do you.

Not everybody considered this to be an olive branch, and Phoenix1234 would go on to feed cynics enough evidence to cast more than enough reasonable doubt. Finally a smoking gun was produced: the OP was caught tweeting about how easy it was to troll. Woe is me, no screenshot. This video captures the spirit of Joss's celebrations:

Then all was zapped.

You gotta feel for the regulars in these discussions, having to deal with shapeshifters all the time. At least they get a lot of practice honing their arguments and lobbing food for thought.

A progressive might counter: what's so unjust? That's how progress is made.

--- Quote ---OvaHere Thu 17-Sep-20 20:24:05

As an illustration of goalpost shifting this is where we've travelled to in less than a decade.

Women and transsexual women


Women and transwomen


Cis women and trans women


Women and trans women are both female


Women and cis women (implication that only trans women are women without a prefix)


Women (again meaning trans women) and cervix havers/utererus havers/menstruators/non men/people who need an abortion.
--- End quote ---

It doesn’t take a feminist to see the problem here.

Men on Mumsnet are generally about as welcome as this cyclist:

Going full trans is no guarantee they'll make the cut, no matter how much they may want to gather with the sisterhood to fight the patriarchy. Peace in our time? Not bloody likely.

Howard Cosell:
Ladies and gentlemen and those still making up their minds, something astonishing is happening. See for yourselves. A civilian is attempting to take control of the ship. Some passengers are applauding, while others have long since bailed out.

Forum moderation and heteronormativity! It's like watching Ali fight Liston on the back of Moby Dick as Ahab arm wrestles Ishmael handicapped by a monkey on his back.

Look at that little monkey! What's that? You want me to step away from the mic? I don't understand.

Howard Cosell:
The man with no name[1] and I agree: to most observers, this duel has probably been a draw. My view is that M started well but kind of lost it, her poor arguments and frequent sailing close to the wind of ad hominem rendering her ever less convincing. Serial flouncelets didn't help.

Au revoir ≠ goodbye is a distinction without a great difference, ohdear. This was covered in How To Deal With People You Disagree With[2] under Common mistakes. I would class believing legal fictions to be non-fiction as another.

Spectators await moderation, such as it is.[3] Some are experiencing an attack of the vapours.

1. Last seen being wrong
2. Not available as a podcast
3. Bias alert
3b. Et voilà

Short quiz: guess what's often out of fashion, never out of style.


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