Author Topic: TWAM

« Reply #20 on: June 20, 2021 »
I haven't broached this subject online in a long time. My previous efforts were not very positive experiences, but I am trying again. Yesterday I feared to have settled for farce. I am really sorry on many levels that my efforts have been clumsy so far - I suppose emotion has clouded my reactions. Hopefully interesting denouement is still out there somewhere.

By the way, Ernestine is one of my names. It is the handle I have used on to discuss gender issues amongst other things, and it implies getting serious, so I thought it honest enough to use it here, but you know my other names so I guess I should have mentioned this more explicitly.

Poetry seems again to be the way I have expressed my gist more effectively than prose, perhaps unsurprisingly. I didn't intend a nasty insult with the word 'twat' - in my world it is a fairly gentle word to use with folk on familiar terms. You and I have talked already about many things with humour and felt some common ground so I thought you would take it with light affection, cutting both ways, rather than as a pejorative term.

Also please pardon me for the potted definitions of a/effrontery. I had had to look them up and this was more for my own and perhaps the wider audience's regard.

It is usually difficult to be honest and entirely courteous simultaneously.

Talking amongst people who simply agree is ultimately less satisfactory than ironing out or defining differences. You have spent a lot of time on the gender business - thanks, and let's spend a little more.

The Maya Fortsater ruling has cleared some air, and if I don't say what I think and believe about all this and just stick to less controversial matters then I reckon it would be a cop out. My views on gender transitioning put me beyond the pale in righteous left circles. I grew up and was brought up so nicely in some respects that the stick I got from peers at school and the imagery of marketing didn't inflict me with gender dysphoria. If I blame society for the phenomenon, which I do, I now find myself shot by both sides.

I am conscious that in my last post I described myself as an androgenous person rather than an androgenous woman. I wrote 'woman' first, but edited that because my sex is irrelevant to issue of hermaphrodite people being forced to become male or female. (The one hermaphrodite person I have met specifically describes themself as hermaphrodite by choice. I am aware that the radical left prefers the term intersex.) I prefer to avoid gendered language where feasible. I believe that it has a lot to answer for. Language changes slowly whatever we say. I see good in finding better words.

I am astonished that so many young people prefer to change their bodies, even to the extent of gonad removal, in order to fit an idea of gender. I believe gender is largely a set of ideas. Perhaps for some they are such important ideas that the alteration of physical self is the only way to go.

I hope this forum is a safe enough space to say that I think this is tragic. I'd rather change the world. I hope it's also a safe enough space to say I can't blithely post other, hopefully funnier stuff, when I find some of the stuff here overhits the mark. I still reckon it is a shame to muddy it up with cheaper digs and I feel honour bound to comment on this. It is such cattiness of the virtual fisticuffs between radical feminists and trans-activists that has brought the politics of gender to a place where debate is often futile. Apportioning blame then becomes an end in itself. I have made too many silly but hurtful playground jibes online myself, and I am trying to give that up. I don't want debate to be futile. I like debate and I like the possibility of developing a world where gender really doesn't matter that much.


  • London's hard-boiled black'n'white sweetie
« Reply #21 on: June 20, 2021 »
Ooh la la!

By the way Sam I am, fank you fer the luvverly email pictcher ov the frog, even if it wos a toad. It as got me waxin a bit lyrical innit.

Modern Times

Birf control in the water
Babies in the jug
Men in tights
Girls in fights
and bugs under the rug


« Reply #22 on: June 20, 2021 »
You're not the only one who had to look up affrontery. I knew what it meant, more or less, but was unclear on the spelling (as usual). There are plenty of references to it being obsolete, which doesn't much help as olde wordes lodge in the head just as readily as their replacements.

It’s difficult for me to write in a serious vein, which is why I avoid it when possible. It takes forever to say what I want to, what with all the erasing and sighing and mental pacing back and forth, and in the end it often seems like far too many words no matter how many I cut, as more rush in to help coagulate the wound.

I’m glad you’re here and talking, raising the bar for this thread. For what it's worth you’ve also played a role in my ongoing effort to rehabilitate myself from shirker or at least lamenter of any sort of confrontation, to an optimist gearing up for genuinely constructive dialogue, part of the reconstruction being on my own edifice. “Why can’t we all just get along” has long been my plaint, there being no sin in such naivety if it’s for a good cause.

Speaking of which, "I see good in finding better words" is something I can get behind, even if I'm less than enthusiastic about using They for everyone until and even after you see their true selves (that's not a dig).

I very much want this to be a safe space, and not just for me. My definition of that isn't an absence of, to use a popular word, triggers, or unpleasant or disturbing concepts, but a sincere striving for integrity. It includes the freedom to be offensive, as long as it's not merely another arrow for the bows of what are still almost charmingly called trolls.

I am aware of no safe spaces outside of the dubious comforts of a clique. Every single place I've been has had problems that made them, to me at least, ultimately uninhabitable. Mumsnet is a good example. The user is first and foremost part of a vast content machine to funnel ad revenue to Justine.

Then there's Ovarit, which I started referencing not long ago. It's a handy resource. While blessedly free of the sort of disingenuous posters who frequently assault Mumsnet Towers, it goes too far into, well, farce.

Recently someone posted that they wished men simply didn't exist, which stood without rebuttal the last I saw. I can handle that, and might have even enjoyed coming up with a reply were I a member (taking care as it may have come from a place of sexual violence), but their definition of safe space is, as far as I can tell, exclusively female. That's their prerogative and I don't mind one way or the other; my stance on the right of women and men to have their own spaces pretty much demands they be allowed that. But it serves as yet another example of a site that falls short. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good, I know…

Ernestine, there is so much more to talk about, and I welcome anyone you care to bring into this and other conversations, especially as it may help take the heat off me to keep taxing my brain; as you can probably guess, I'd rather be captioning and making paper aeroplanes for flights of fancy. Humbug, I’m fresh out of amphibians, so here’s a squirrel I saw earlier today. My stance on them (“crazy bastards”) has softened. We're all just trying to get by as best as we can in this world.

« Reply #23 on: June 21, 2021 »
I too have trouble with prose these days. I read some pieces from my University days recently and was struck by my former succinctness. I seldom achieve that now - there are so many caveats, word-fails, and possible assumptions to pre-empt online that I tend to go round the houses and end up back home with a nice cuppa instead. Still seeking more spaces between academia and quip.

Thinking about safe spaces I remember when I was a new parent and young musician. There was encouragement in the air for women to develop musical talent without sexist surroundings. Hence 'women only' workshops, with creche, yeah! But it was unsatisfactory for me. I am not arguing against the need for same sex safe spaces where these are vital, as they can be. There is sex underlying much music. What we ultimately needed was for men and women to play together without nastiness, plus creche very possibly. I hear this happening more and more now, so there is hope. Skateboarding has also made huge woman strides. Neither music or skateboarding could thrive in a universe without occaisional offence -

I agree about
a safe space, and not just for me. My definition of that isn't an absence of, to use a popular word, triggers, or unpleasant or disturbing concepts, but a sincere striving for integrity. It includes the freedom to be offensive, but...

The internet as it stands - riddled not only with advertising but also with its market research feedback loop - must not become the default medium. This is what is perhaps the most dangerous aspect of our response to covid.

I stumbled on this thread having first met Chompsky on another. If people I know do the same or similar I will not be embarrassed.


« Reply #24 on: June 22, 2021 »
I do wonder how I'd feel if I knew and cared for someone convinced they're the sex they're not. God knows it's easy to take a firm line online, but face to face?

Mostly agree about the dangers of the internet becoming the default medium (though it would be interesting if you expanded on that). It's safe to say it eventually became so for me after a friend introduced us in the late 90s. I have often thought of myself as the closest thing to a hermit that a person who enjoys being out in the world on his bike can be.

However, I have also taken pleasure in meeting new people since covid started shutting doors.

Heaven and hell
Close encounters

In my case it's not really the pandemic which has seemingly handed me the keys, but the latest in a lifelong series of mood swings which renders me alternately capable of company, and almost horrified of it.

I read some pieces from my University days recently and was struck by my former succinctness.

Amazing how much you know when you're younger, which can make it easier to be succinct.

More spaces between academia and quip sounds good.

« Reply #25 on: June 26, 2021 »
I am ashamed for this world and for what became of feminism that gender has become bigger when it should have been falling off the map.

From this,

to what?

To any feminists or trans-activists who may or may not be reading this - whatever your stand on trans issues - The process is the product. The medium is the message. You are giving power to market forces by campaigning via their channels.

I have been guilty of omission - lack of response to the misdirection of the womens' liberation movement into something more contrived, that which then allowed the media to lampoon and discredit it. I fell from my disgrace by defending Julie Burchill online for her support of her friend who had been vilified and threatened by a trans caucus. My attempting this Voltairian task rebounded with evidence that nowadays conclusions come first and reasoning a poor second. I then realised that as a time-to-time teacher I hadn't been half aware enough of the behaviourist culture creeping into primary education - this which I more or less hold responsible for the 'likey likey' nature of social media.

Where does Search Engine Optimisation come from? Can we abort it poet-partum?


  • London's hard-boiled black'n'white sweetie
« Reply #26 on: June 26, 2021 »
I dug this out ov yer © vault Ernie,

The Cookie Crumbles

The war beyond war
is a secret affair
so many like and share

It'll eat you under the table, see
meet your beat to the nth degree
wipe its lips on your cv

« Reply #27 on: June 29, 2021 »
Transspotting I recall when Rachel Riley put up the 8-letter word TRANNIES on the Countdown board.  I had never heard the word before (this was about 10 years ago – I think Nick Hewer was on his first day as host).  It seemed a rather quaint, endearing term your gran might use for men who enjoy dressing up in women's clothing (NOT dressing up as women, mind you, but as men dressed as women – think pepperpots).

We're (or at least I'm) not talking about drag queens, of which less said the merrier.  So, whatever happened to transvestites?  The female butch sort have been with us since Beowolf beat Grendel.  Every school had at least one.  And, less to the point, whatever happened to hermaphrodites? 

Trainspotting We all know that 'trans' means 'across' and 'cis' means 'smile for the camera', if you live where I do (Swiss cis, anyone?).  And it also means 'this side of'.  Until you take the train called the Cisalpino, in which you travel across the Alps.  Heaven only knows what a return ticket is called.  Round trip is certainly a circumalpino.  But, as sam has already said, I've no skin in this game. 

Trendspotting As Christine Keeler once said to me — Wait!  Delete that!  Start over.  (I'll save my dalliance with Miss Keeler for another day.)  As Christine Jorgensen once said to me, "I don't like it hot."  This is absolutely true.  I was cooking at the hotel where she was staying during a lecture tour of university campuses, and she came to the kitchen to speak to the chef.  "I thought I'd just pop back here to talk with you a while."

That was what led to a thirty-minute conversation I had with the 'notorious' transsexual of my generation.  She was writing a Scandinavian cookbook (perpetually, it turned out) and enjoyed talking with restaurant and hotel cooks.  She had an hour or two before she needed to get ready for her lecture, and if she wasn't eating early, she was eating late.  "But cook it a good half hour ahead of time.  I love hot food cooled down and cold food warmed up.  Room temperature is the objective."

We spoke of her tour.  I told her I'd not be able to hear her deliver her talk, so she covered what she thought I'd like to hear.  I don't know how she knew, but she was spot-on in her comments to me.  This was in the early-mid 1970s, and students those days were glad to be challenged by the new and the exciting.  Edward Teller was another controversial speaker I cooked for, but our orbits did not intersect.

Christine Jorgensen would have been de-platformed these days, to ensure she didn't spread word of her own experiences, which would contradict today's orthodoxy.  We spoke of George, her persona before the operations.  "We were never different people.  I'm still the same person George was.  You cannot change a person on the inside by changing the outside."

She mentioned her sister.  "We get along better now as sisters than we did as brother and sister.  My parents and I get along better now, as well."

Back to food – well, we never got back to food, except for preparing her early dinner.  As I recall, she wanted a beef sirloin steak grilled medium rare, then cooled, of course.  She probably had a salad with that and some rice.  She did say she liked the way rice cools down so fast.

Miss Jorgensen has the final word.  "Give everything time to develop its natural flavour," she told me.  Yes, indeed, with food and with life.


« Reply #28 on: July 10, 2021 »

image search: Vertigo

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo has felled me again. I'm currently reading and typing on a laptop with the both of us tipped onto our right side, which besides having the advantage of quelling my nausea, makes it easier to curl into a fetal position. This is the classic position for someone who, pardon my hyperbole, just wants to die. I don't want to die. I just want everything to stop spinning.

We continue this thread with DeRigueurMortis, from Witchesnet Mumsnet:

What is it to be a woman?

I don't wake up thinking I feel like a woman today.

I'm just me.

That said I've lived a life that's been defined by my sex.

I wasn't seriously sexually assaulted at 17 by a man because of my gender identity. I was deliberately targeted because of my sex.

I couldn't "opt out" and not feel like a woman on the last day of my Uni finals because I had the period from hell and spent 3 hours with blood stained jeans after trying to answer questions with severe cramps.

I did succeed in my career in a male dominated industry only to find I was still expected to "take notes" and "play hostess's" even when more junior employees (men) were present.

I gave birth and suffered serious tearing which a male doctor thought "insignificant". Having insisted on being examined by a female doctor I was referred for surgery.

I had my coil replaced with no anaesthetic and passed out screaming in pain as the old one was removed only to come round and find a new one had been inserted (that I would not have consented to) and then bled for 3 weeks.

I've spent thousands of pounds over the years on sanitary protection and pain relief.

Going through peri right now and I've had to fight tooth and nail with my male GP to get HRT. Apparently I'm expected to deal with night sweats that mean I average 4 hours sleep and have to be in the spare bedroom so I don't disturb DH as well as myself.

I don't feel like a woman.

I am one.

No trans woman can ever have these experiences.

They have a notion, a concept about being female is that is mostly rooted in the most inconsequential aspects of women's lives such a lipstick and clothing.

I, like most women I think, spend relatively little mental energy on such matters in comparison to how much I expend on being safe and looking after/worrying about my health in relation specifically to my female anatomy (checking for breast lumps, attending smear tests etc).

Yet these experiences are apparently nothing.

Because men can be women.

They can take away the very word and definition of what a female is.

That's the biggest fucking steal in history and I'm not having it.

Her post made me think of Clare Flourish. Unless Clare has upped Clare's game considerably since my last visit, I can't see Clare lasting 5 minutes in a fair discussion with people who have their critical faculties engaged. However, Clare* would fit right in at the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times:

There is no doubt that Wi Spa did the right thing in defending the right of a transgender customer to be nude in the women’s area, even though the sight of male-appearing genitalia discomfited at least one female customer, who complained at the front desk.

"Male-appearing genitalia". Let that soak in. And this, a tweet which will live in infamy:

Less infamous but disturbing in its own way (note this is unrelated to the bad Penny hot take above):

This gambit never fails to leave me unimpressed. As TheShadowyFeminist put it:

I think I've (almost) become immune to the bad faith smearing of women who have concerns with male inclusion in female spaces as 'right wing' by trans activists. It's no less a bad faith argument coming from a co-founder of [Woman’s Place UK].

* What can I say, I like the name.

I visited Clare's site again, in search of any words of wisdom about the Wi Spa. Didn't find them, but I did spot The Orrery, which charmed me enough to read more, disinclined as I was to give the works of Clare any more of my time. (Here's an example of someone I have time for.)

An Explanation of Trans Ideology made me reconsider if Clare would indeed last 5 minutes with people who don't agree with the premise that "Anyone who wants to be is a woman." For all I know, Clare already has, and then some. That's not to say Clare's powers of reasoning (never mind capacity for empathy) stand up to any real scrutiny; just that when you have a way with words, as Clare undoubtedly does, you can, at least, keep a conversation going... if a conversation is what you want in the first place.

"How you can ride side saddle? This is so uncomfortable."
above: Alchemist distilling the essence of Woman, discovers Kool-Aid.

« Reply #29 on: July 14, 2021 »
Hello - interesting to hear from you David.

I haven't got very much to say in reply - I'm mostly showing up to say I'm still around.

However there is a campaign to have an 'x' box on your birth certificate rather than 'm' or 'f' - this would be a huge advance for those born intersex or hermaphrodite, and I feel, more fundamentally important than any legislation regarding gender identity. I have talked with someone who was subjected to 'correction' surgery as a baby because they didn't fit either box. I want a society where fitting into boxes is not a priority, for all sorts of reasons.

I feel safe enough here to say that I have been assaulted for being a woman, for being a 'batty man' and for being 'weird' - the point to this confession not being to score points on any scale but to say the problem is not mine, it is in the eye of the beholder. I do largely blame behaviourism - the shortcut to niceness for teachers uncomfortable with reason. More hard-hitting than C.P. because internalised as the comfort zone. Sometime around the early seventies we had a better future within focus.

Descending into minutiae of classification to oppose discrimination in particular or in general seems the penultimate irony (The ultimate being the recommendation to register on the database of people who don't want to be on databases.)