Activism, Feminism, History, Politics, Recommended

How Feminism Paved the Way for Transgenderism

In the last decade, in many parts of the English-speaking world, transgender advocacy has made substantial, and at times, expansive gains, with trans rights becoming embedded in institutions and enforced by the state. Like any significant historical event, this gender revolution has multiple causes. One is digital technology, providing virtual worlds which transcend physical reality and online networks for spreading activism. Another is academic theory: postmodernism and queer theory. I want to make the less obvious argument that transgenderism has been promoted by feminism.

Not all feminism, of course. From the start of the second wave, some radical feminists opposed the inclusion of male-to-female transsexuals under the general heading of “women.” Their argument culminated in Janice Raymond’s Transsexual Empire (1979): “All transsexuals rape women’s bodies by reducing the real female form to an artifact.” Transsexualism, she observed, was the creation of medical men like John Money and Harry Benjamin. As the current wave of transgenderism was building at the beginning of the 21st century, a handful of radical lesbian feminists warned that it was detrimental to the material interests of women. They included Sheila Jeffreys, an English political scientist then teaching at the University of Melbourne, and Gallus Mag, a pseudonymous American blogger. At the time, their warnings must have seemed hysterical; they now appear remarkably prescient.

These radical feminists argued that “trans activism is misogyny” and “a men’s rights movement.” They were correct about its objective consequences being bad for females, as set out by the philosopher Kathleen Stock and the journalist Helen Joyce. The end of segregation by sex threatens the dignity and safety of women rather than men, because men are more violent and sexually predatory than women. Men in prison, for example, have a huge incentive to claim a female identity. In sports, the physical advantages of men are so great that their entry into women’s competitions automatically takes places from females. Women who enter men’s competitions, by contrast, are destined to lose. In the realm of sexuality, young lesbians are vulnerable to aggressive pursuit by transwomen, which activists celebrate as “breaking the cotton ceiling.” There is no equivalent pressure on men, whether straight or gay.

Transgenderism also undermines the female sex in more subtle ways. In progressive communities, a growing number of young women assert that they are men or nonbinary, and that has consequences for ordinary social interactions. People become so fearful of “misgendering”—which has become a postmodern form of blasphemy—that they stop using female pronouns for women who do not display a feminine style. Long-established schools for girls can no longer refer to their pupils’ sex. Discussion of women’s bodies now requires circumlocutions like “menstruators” and “everyone with a cervix.”

In my view, then, radical feminists are correct that transgenderism—in its objective consequences—harms the interests of women and girls. The fact that a policy is bad for females is not a decisive argument against it, of course. We always balance competing interests, and one may argue that the benefits for transwomen outweigh the costs for women. My interest is not in the normative question of whose claims should prevail, but in the sociological question of who pushed these claims. In short, who has led this “men’s rights’ movement”?

Let us list the major players in Britain. Former Prime Minister Theresa May announced that “being trans is not a mental illness.” “As an ardent, passionate feminist,” Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, wants to eliminate sex segregation. Conservative MP Maria Miller headed the Committee for Women and Equalities, a select committee of the House of Commons, which proposed reforming the Gender Recognition Act to make it easier for people to change their legal sex; she derided critics of this proposal as “women who purport to be feminists.” Dawn Butler, Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities in the Labour Party, insists that “trans women are women” and arranged for them to enter the party’s all-women’s shortlists for parliamentary seats. Ruth Hunt transformed Stonewall from a charity that campaigned for homosexual rights to one devoted to transgender rights, even at the expense of lesbians. Mermaids, which advocates for the transgendering of children, is run by Susie Green. Polly Carmichael, director of the NHS Gender Identity Development Service, lowered the age at which puberty-blocking drugs could be administered to children who identify as trans—now disproportionately girls. Katharine Viner is chief executive of the Guardian newspaper which has championed the transgender cause for many years.

Virtually the entire feminist establishment has embraced transgenderism, from celebrated feminist Members of Parliament like Jess Phillips (Labour Party) and Mhairi Black (Scottish National Party) to organizations like the Fawcett Society, Engender (the feminist group funded by the Scottish government), the Women’s Equality Party, and Women’s Aid. Transgender doctrines are enforced by the burgeoning diversity-industrial complex which was created by feminists and is disproportionately staffed by women. It was a woman employed as a university Equality Projects Officer who started a petition to transfer a violent transwoman to a women’s prison; the petition was so successful that it persuaded the government to divide prisons by gender identity rather than sex. In universities, transgender doctrine is promoted by feminist academics like Sally Hines and Alison Phipps. Because radical feminism has almost disappeared from universities, academic opponents of transgenderism—now labelled as “gender-critical”—are, for the most part, women whose scholarship isn’t directly linked to contemporary feminism. Kathleen Stock, for example, worked on the philosophy of aesthetics. But there are some gender-critical voices within the feminist establishment. Joanna Cherry (Scottish National Party) is one of only two Members of Parliament who publicly question transgender orthodoxy. Karen Ingala Smith’s charity NiA runs women’s shelters in the old-fashioned sense, restricted to females. Such exceptions are rare.

Male politicians on the left have echoed the mantras of transgenderism. When asked whether transwomen are women, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn answered affirmatively, albeit without enthusiasm. He has since ignored the issue. The website Pink News, run by Benjamin Cohen, aggressively promotes the transgender cause. Overall, though, powerful men have done rather less than powerful women to institutionalize gender identity.

When we look at public opinion, we find the same difference between the sexes. The 2016 British Social Attitudes survey asked whether a transwoman—defined as “a man who has gone through all or part of a process to become a woman”—could enter a women’s refuge: 55 percent of male respondents were “very” or “quite comfortable,” compared to 64 percent of females. (The difference is statistically significant, p = .002; n = 974.) Respondents conceivably envisaged an old-style transsexual who had undergone genital surgery. Fortunately, rank-and-file gender-critical feminists (led by Helen Staniland) crowd-funded a survey that asked explicitly about “a person who was born male and has male genitalia but who identifies as a woman.” Acceptance is much reduced, but the disparity remains: 11 percent of men would admit this person into women’s changing rooms, compared to 17 percent of women. (The difference is statistically significant, p < .001; n = 2,074.) Just as women are more likely to accept the claims of transgenderism, they are more likely to silence gender-critical feminists. A YouGov survey asked British students last year whether their university should allow a speech by “someone who believes that transgender women are not ‘real’ women.” Half the male students would allow such a speech, but only a quarter of the females. (The difference is statistically significant, p < .001; n = 1,004.)

The evidence is overwhelming. Transgenderism—a “men’s rights movement”—has greater support from women than from men, and its success has depended on women in power who brandish their feminist credentials. This paradox has gone unremarked by the small but growing band of gender-critical feminists. When the paradox is noted, it is explained away as the result of “female socialization”: women are socialized to be kind to men, and therefore they prioritize ostensibly vulnerable males—transwomen—over their own needs. This explanation might have some validity for ordinary women. But it cannot be plausibly applied to ambitious and successful politicians and their counterparts in charities, public services, and universities. It is also hard to reconcile with the fact that young people with a university degree are the most likely demographic to embrace transgenderism; young women with degrees are also most likely to call themselves feminists. Could there be something about mainstream feminism which prepared the way for transgenderism?

The foundational premise for feminism is that every difference between males and females in attitudes and behavior is due to socialization: there are no socially relevant biological differences above the neck. Thus the same feminists who denounce male violence and sexual objectification also endorse Cordelia Fine and Gina Rippon for arguing that there are no differences between female and male brains. There are some obvious problems with the premise. Why are humans the only mammalian species where evolution did not produce sexual differences in behavior? Why are some sex differences remarkably uniform across different cultures? For example, men commit more violence than women—as feminists themselves rightly emphasize—even though the overall level of violence varies greatly from one society to another. Leaving aside the validity of this premise, though, my interest is in how this premise paved the way for transgenderism.

If you ground the justification for sex segregation (in prisons, changing rooms, and so on) on socialization rather than biology, then it is much harder to argue for the exclusion of transwomen from women’s spaces. Your argument depends crucially on the proposition that trans-identified people have been socialized into sex roles corresponding to their birth sex. Needless to say, transgender people reject this proposition. To quote transfeminine activist Florence Ashley, “We can’t be socialized into a gender we don’t have.” In some cases their claims may seem implausible, as when a man in his seventies declares himself a woman. Nevertheless, socialization can fail, as is demonstrated by the fact that gays and lesbians exist despite the inculcation of heterosexuality. The argument for socialization is further weakened by the transitioning of children at younger and younger ages. If parents raise their son as a girl from the age of three, on what grounds can biology-denying feminists assert that this child is being socialized as male? If you really believe that observed behavioral differences between the sexes are due entirely to socialization, then you should readily accept the new generation of transkids in their acquired gender.

Because socialization provides only a fragile foundation for sex segregation, it was easily undermined by transgender activism. Why did this vulnerability become apparent only in the last decade or so? In the 1970s, when feminism resurged, the insistence that all differences between men and women were socially constructed was balanced by conventional opinion which then exaggerated biological differences. More importantly, society was structured so that men’s and women’s experiences differed in almost every respect. In 1970, women comprised just 19 percent of undergraduates at the University of Oxford, and almost all of them belonged to female-only colleges. A female Prime Minister was then hard to imagine, there having been only three female elected heads of government in the world. Differences between the sexes were reinforced by innumerable everyday rituals: men would be expected to hold open a door for a woman and to help her on with her coat. Enid Blyton’s Famous Five stories for children are riddled with sexist stereotypes, and yet the tomboy—Georgina who insisted on being called George—is portrayed fondly. She rebelled against the imposition of femininity, but did not imagine that she was not female. (Female-to-male transsexuals in this era were vanishingly rare.)

Half a century later, many of the social differences between men and women have been eradicated or at least attenuated—thanks in good measure to feminism. Gender roles are not rigidly enforced, at least for adults. (Children’s toys are more gendered than they were in the 1970s, which might be another instance of the gender-equality paradox—in more sexually egalitarian societies, men and women’s personalities and career choices differ more.) Experiences of men and women still diverge with the birth of children, of course, but this event now comes much later in life. It is telling that young women with university degrees are most likely to assert that transwomen are women; they are also the least likely to have experienced the exigencies of reproduction. The insistence that there are no biological differences in attitudes and behavior between the sexes is no longer a radical dissenting view; it is established orthodoxy. To question it might even lead you to lose your job, as we saw with James Damore.

If society denies biological differences and does not rigidly enforce gender roles, then the way is cleared for transgenderism. Being a man or woman—or neither—becomes a matter of subjective feeling. Toxic masculinity is to be deplored for licensing violence and sexual predation, but transwomen should be welcomed into women’s refuges. If testosterone has no effect on the brain, then why should it affect athletic ability?

My argument, in short, is that since the 1970s feminists have been sawing off the branch on which they perched. By denying biological differences they inadvertently eroded the distinction between male and female, which now licenses a social movement that undermines the interests of women and girls. Radical feminists were relatively immune because they had a much greater appreciation of sexual differences. There are indeed similarities between radical feminism and evolutionary psychology. Both view heterosexual relationships as inherently conflictual, for example, due to divergent sexual preferences and men’s ability to exercise violence.

One objection to my account is that some transgender advocates have attempted to ground subjective gender identity on a biological foundation. There is some evidence that an individual’s proclivity towards masculinity or femininity has a biological basis. (The evidence that sexual orientation has a biological basis is well-established.) Prenatal exposure to androgens, for example, helps predict gendered behavior in adulthood. But this does not prove the possibility of a male having a female brain or vice versa. Consider height as an analogy. On average, men are taller than women, and this fact is primarily biological. (In poor societies the disparity will be increased if sons are favoured over daughters, because the latter will receive less nutrition and medical care.) Notwithstanding this overall difference, some individual women are taller than the average man, and their exceptional height also has some genetic basis. It would be absurd, however, to treat such a woman as having a man’s height trapped in a woman’s body. Recognizing the overlap of the physical and mental corollaries of sex does not obviate the binary distinction. It is telling that transgender activists have never proposed any objective physical test for gender identity: their reference to biology is, at this point, purely rhetorical.

If my argument is correct, then feminists need to rethink their premise that all observed differences in behaviour between women and men are due to socialization—that humans are blank slates. Biological differences provide a solid foundation for sex segregation—they justify the exclusion of males (however they identify) from women’s refuges and prisons, and from toilets and changing areas, just as they justify the separation of sports. (Those born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that makes it difficult to classify them as male or female would still pose a challenge, but intersex people only make up ~0.02 percent of the population.)

If my argument is wrong, then radical and gender-critical feminists will need to provide an alternative explanation for why the feminist establishment was so vulnerable to the seductions of transgenderism—why this “men’s rights movement” has ended up being aggressively promoted by women.

 

Michael Biggs is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Oxford.

Comments

  1. Transgenderism Has Utterly Fucked Society Over: Women Hardest Hit

  2. “women are socialized to be kind to men, and therefore they prioritize ostensibly vulnerable males—transwomen—over their own needs.”

    Nowhere in society have i seen evidence of this. I’ve seen women being kind to women significantly more often than i have seen them being kind to men, and even then it is rarely done over the woman’s “own needs.”

  3. There are many interesting and potentially valid points here, but it’s all undercut by the mistaken belief that transgender isn’t biological. The belief that sex and gender are strictly binary does not comport with the current science. Dr. Harriet Hall has written a helpful primer here. Allison Hall (no relation) also did a helpful episode on Skeptoid.

    Nature is messy and complicated. It will not fit into any neat, ideological boxes. What transgender people need is simply respect, kindness, and the acknowledgement that it’s not a choice. Which is no more and no less than any human deserves.

  4. I find it interesting how feminists who believe in biological differences only point out the ways in which they think men suck (violence and rape) and physical differences.

    What about achievement in mathematics and physics? What about leadership qualities? When posed with these questions, all of a sudden the “gender critical feminists” fling themselves back into “gender is a social construct” or “you are a misogynist and those observations are due to patriarchal oppression”.

    Perhaps there are biological differences that don’t make men morally inferior trolls and biological differences that don’t make women, in general, intellectual equals in every field.

  5. @jerjapan - Good points overall. But “a handful of trans women competing in female professional sports” seems limiting by “professional” and the fact that trans women are a fairly new thing for society. Women’s sports itself is a fairly new notion and barely exists in many countries.
    Is there any way to determine a “real” trans woman vs. one “just saying they are”? If it’s fluid, can I choose my gender by the moment, say, when it’s to my advantage?
    Intersex is rare enough in mammalian nature, but that’s very different than trans gender where the sex is demonstrable and genetic.
    And why is trans gender accepted, but trans racial/ethnicity mocked? Ethnicity/culture is clearly a social system, yet it’s derided if trans racial people make similar claims.

  6. If there were no law established, this would be much easier to just accept as human differences, like all other preferences including sexuality and choice of dress. Liberty, freedom of association and equal protection all suggest you can be who you want to be as long as you aren’t harming others.

    But neo-liberty laws make it a crime for you to maintain your own preferences with respect to such different thinking people. You lose your liberty, free thought and your freedom of association when coerced to accept alternative lifestyles as equally valid. The law often givens a preference/advantage to so-called disadvantaged groups.

    Why should we accept the claim that trans women are women, rather than they are men who prefer to dress/act/socialize as women, or even that they are trans women so as to use their preferred language? Will age be what you feel it is (60 is the new 40!)? Obesity is well-document in the sciences, so should it be a protected class with special programs and laws for them? Some weight dysphoria has extremely thin people believing they are too fat.

    Will there be a Title IX in the future for trans male and trans female sports? Will other dysphorias become legally protected against personal bias?

    I am all for live and let live. But society uses law to coerce behavior and to coerce acceptance of ideas that others may reject.

  7. What’s fascinating is that no one ever talks about trans men. They are - like women used to be - invisible. Male-to-female has utterly coopted the movement, as though it were a synonym with trans.

    I just came back from visiting a dear friend who is female-to-male trans. He is much happier now and I’m glad. He is also quite private and simply want to live his life. Many female-to-male trans are like this, in my opinion. It’s the male-to-female trans that are the radicals—and a very small percentage of them at that. What I mean is, the majority of male-to-female also simply want to live their lives.

    The hysteria-fed bullying and radical ideology stems entirely from a very very very small portion of humanity; trans itself is small, male-to-female smaller, radical Tweeting raging male-to-female who want your head if they are called by the wrong gender, even smaller still.

    This leads me to two main points:

    1. Why are we all ignoring the male component here? Surely it’s not an accident that it’s the biological males - not biological females, in general - who are the ones who are very, very aggressively demanding treatment as women and threatening wreck and ruin if they don’t get their way. I don’t mean to be sexist here, but biology shows that men are more aggressive, for starters; furthermore, these particular biological men have gender dysphoria and a host of other related issues, and it stands to reason that some of them will turn their desire to be women onto frustration they cannot be unto hatred of women.

    2. Why do they have so much power? They are not only a very tiny portion of our population, the radical ones are cruel, mean, irrational, and often coexist with other mental health issues. It goes without saying that all humans need to be treated with dignity, and should be treated with kindness and compassion. But that is not what they’re saying, nor should that be legislated, much less at the extraordinarily punitive way it is being legislative (one shouldn’t go to jail in the Uk, or lose a career in the US, because one isn’t kind in a single Tweet).

    How did we get to a point where doctors are giving minors experimental powerful drugs with zero scientific evidence it will help and an extreme danger it will do more harm? How did we get to a point where a man says 3 year old boys shouldn’t be able to decide their gender, and it’s off with his head unless he does a Maoist apology? (And note btw that it’s, again, boy-to-girl trans, apparently the only kind that matters.)

    Obviously this movement isn’t rational, so rational arguments won’t work. But my bigger question is the source of their power. Why is everyone rolling over dead, and worse, sacrificing their children’s health and life, in the face of a tiny handful of bullies?

  8. If society denies biological differences and does not rigidly enforce gender roles, then the way is cleared for transgenderism

    The obvious problem with this argument is that transgenderism in many respects represents a loud reassertion of traditional gender roles. In fact gender roles are so important to the trans cause that they replace biological sex as the defining male/female characteristic.

    It’s the trans lobby who insist that a child who likes pink and plays with dolls is a “girl”, even if he’s a boy. Claiming that one’s sex is “just a feeling” that can be demonstrated by conforming to traditional gender expectations, certainly denies biological differences but reinforces gender stereotypes.

    And societies which still “rigidly enforce gender roles” tend to be quite accepting of transgenderism. In many Muslim countries homosexuality is severely suppressed but transgenderism is increasingly accepted, as it doesn’t threaten the traditional gender expectations.

    On the other hand, it’s true that the radical feminist critique of trans ideology also harbours a central contradiction. While arguing persuasively that many transwomen are “autogynephilic males” with a “typically male” sexuality and aggressive tendencies, it doesn’t make sense to continue to argue that there are no psychological differences between males and females that are physically determined.

  9. I live in Downtown Manhattan and have many friends who are Gay and lesbian (and they know I’m a Trump supporter too. In fact the only person who dropped me as a friend for supporting Trump was a straight white female.go figure)

    At any rate, all of my gay & lesbian friends believe the stupidest thing the Gay community ever did was allow the addition of the “T” to LGBQ and make it “LGBTQ” . And they say that, for the simple fact that even though they are Gay or Lesbian, they were never in doubt over their gender. Yes, they knew early on their sexual preference for the same sex made them different from those whose preference was for the opposite sex, but every gay man I know said they always knew they were a man, and every Lesbian, knew they were a woman.

    And in all the conversations I’ve had on the topic - whether with gay or straight - It centers around the obvious destruction of women’s sports and how ludicrous it is for a biological male identifying as female to be able to compete as a a women, in women’s sports.

    And frankly, it’s such a rational view, that the demonization by Academics and the political and Media elite of anyone who holds the irrational opposite of it, is one of the best examples of the totalitarian fascism they use to silence all dissent. It will not end well, for women, or for enlightened Western culture overall.

    For example, I think it’s safe to say the demonization and ostracization of Martina Navratilova (a leading voice for gay rights for decades) for taking a strong stand against biological males competing in womens sports is the “canary in the coal mine” heralding the coming dark ages of intolerance and censorship of rational thought

  10. @jerjapan
    I sense your first bullet point is slippery, because feminists who don’t agree, or who disagree in a way that challenges challenges transgender dogma, are attacked and deplatformed. In such an environment of enforcement and punishment, who knows what many feminists believe? Transgenderism is blocking the freedom of opinion and thought of feminists, which we have seen many times here on Quillette, which is creating real cracks in feminism.

    As to your point on Mermaids, these are children we are talking about. How do we know these children really have gender dysphoria, and are not simply confused (as most teens or preteens are) and not influenced by social media and social pressure? Is selling LSD to minors who have self-identified as wanting LSD doing something to them, or simply supporting their desires to expand their minds and consciousness? Does Mermaids attack anybody who gets in their way? Having a wrong viewpoint on this can destroy someone’s career.

  11. *If I understand the logic correctly, he thinks that feminists are responsible for insisting that gender is 100% a social construct, which gave momentum to the trans rights movement, which has lead to predatorial trans women assaulting women born female in prisons and other spaces, and trans women athletes dominating women born female in sports.

    So many false premises underly this argument that it is exhausing, but in short:

    •Plenty of feminists believe that their are biological differences between the male and female brain

    •Very, very few examples of trans women assaulting anyone in ‘female’ spaces exist, but far more evidence exists to demonstrate the danger of trans women being forced to use a bathroom that conflicts with their gender identity

    •His points about people living in terror of misgendering others is wildly hyperbolic. It is not ‘blasphemy’ in progressive circles - which of course include the gender critical feminists who he claims to side with. Yes, the odd academic or progressive suggests terminology like ‘menstruators’ with the goal of being inclusive. Many of us on the left also find fault with these rare, highly specific examples. This is by no means as monolothic as Biggs implies - he is employing a classic straw man fallacy.

    •“Mermaids, which advocates for the transgendering of children”. The gerund here implies that Mermaids is doing this TO children, when in fact they are a support group for children who have already self-identified as gender dysphoric

    •‘transgenderism’ can’t be a men’s rights movement as it’s not even a word, according to Merriam
    -Webster. It’s a concept that Biggs hopes to use as a bugbear.

    •There are a handful of trans women competing in female professional sports who may have an advantage. To my knowledge, in order to do this, they need to be taking estrogen, which diminishes some of the biological advantages. I am only aware of one contentious example- weightlifter Laurel Hubbard. This is a problem, and it needs discussing in order to find a resolution. But it’s a pretty obscure issue

    •lastly, Biggs has an extensive history of using a pseudonymous twitter account to insult and demean trans people. As an academic, he has every right to express disagreement with orthodoxy. The fact that he resorted to hiding behind a false name indicates that he was aware that his language with insulting and demeaning.

    The idea of gender being a pure social construct originated in radical feminism. That’s not in dispute. So yes, it originated in feminism by feminists- that doesn’t mean that there aren’t feminists who don’t subscribe to it, but the author is correct in that it is a child of feminism. Your first bullet point is a hidden version of the “No true Scotsman” fallacy.

    Your second point is also uncited, there are clear examples of predatory trans women but I have yet to see data on more than some nebulously undefined “fear” by transwomen in using a male space. In short, this needs citation.

    People have lost their jobs, homes, and livelihoods for misgendering. You are either being literalist with your retort on blasphemy, arguning in bad faith (knowingly reverting to a definition fight for a colloquial usage), or missing the point. Posted less than a week ago on this very site is the case of a trans individual, Yaniv, using Canadian laws as a shakedown of professional bikini waxers- his/her claim is essentially “misgendering”. That is what is being referenced.

    The Mermaids group has an agenda. Too many children and teens revert or stop transitioning. Children are, frankly, too young to understand their own gender- their existence is problematic as a result. A support group for parents would be more appropriate.

    Again with the definition fight. Neologisms- in fact, the nature of any language constructed of prefixes, suffixes, and roots- allows the usage of terms and words that aren’t overtly recognized but are meaningful and clearly understood by speakers. Correctly identifying a gerund indicates you know this.

    Regarding sports, you are not well-informed on sports science. Diminished biologic advantage does not eliminate the permanent physiological changes occurring in native males in terms of changes to muscular and skeletal structure. There are a number of articles by sports scientists on this topic. Two transgender MTF girls won- and set records- in HS track in Connecticut last year. This gives them scholarship opportunities that were intended to promote girls entering sports. The IOCC guidelines set the testosterone bar allowed far higher than most women’s testosterone as well, and only require a 1 year period at this lowered testosterone level, something that is highly criticized by experts as insufficient, all else being equal (which as noted previously, it isn’t), to remove the additional muscle mass accumulated before testosterone levels dropped. There’s also a number of cases of cyclists. In the case of Laurel Hubbard, Hubbard was already a world-ranked but not gold medal standard men’s lifter, as I understand it- Hubbard’s transition was literally to an easier division.

    The last point is attacking Bigg’s credibility, instead of addressing his argument. You need to reference your third bullet to understand why he would be leery of expressing opinions against the orthodoxy.

  12. Well, there is an additional issue here that transgender people rarely discuss.

    Post-pubescent female to male are frequently “passing”- ie, they frequently appear at worst as physically smaller men with fine features. It’s within the typical male morphological range, if towards an edge.

    Post-pubescent male to females frequently have a “masculine” jaw (widens in puberty), too-broad shoulders, too-narrow hips, and run a significant risk of being too tall- as in, male physiological changes in males during puberty are sufficiently disruptive that passing becomes a dream.

    So you have several camps. You have the angry ones that blame society for being 6’4", 250 lbs, and looking like a man in a dress no matter how many surgeries they get. My experience is that it is these individuals who are litigious and aggressive about being accepted, because in person the idea of them being accepted cannot fly; it’s like forcing society to accept the delusion that they are delicate and dainty. (We all are stuck with the hand we were dealt, at 5’7" with a 44" chest I was never going to be a NBA power center, playing football in HS was on the table if I wanted it, though). You have the misguided compassionate who want boys to transition pre-puberty to prevent development of masculine secondary sex characteristics, even at the risk of physically harming (heart damage, etc.), those who were merely going through a phase, they are seen apparently as acceptable losses. You have predators ( a minority, but capable of horrifying and out-sized damage) who now have an excuse for access.

    Lookup the photo of those Connecticut runners, or recent cycling competition photos, and play “spot the transwoman!” That’s an issue activists don’t want to actively acknowledge is a driver, due to affirming them as “real women,” and those who aren’t personally acquainted are unfamiliar with.

  13. For those who argue that trans women athletes don’t harm women’s sports, you should consider the following problems. A tiny proportion of the population is negatively impacting 50%. This has a real effect on women’s chances to fairly compete for careers in sports. Competitive sports have a proven benefit on academic performance, with the discipline required for physical training cross-pollinating into study- student athletes score 0.25 higher on GPA’s relative to the general population. Physical fitness is the only known mechanism to boost intelligence and cognitive function- healthy body, healthy brain.

    By denying women the achievable goal of gaining scholarships, high-powered careers in sports and professional careers in sport and leisure management (if they don’t win medals), activists are harming women’s fitness, academic attainment and intelligence, for what is a relatively minor ideological issue when compared to the general goal of equality under the law, for trans people. The fastest woman in the world has 2,500 men who are faster than her- and this is true for most, but not all, sports. But, in a real sense, the withdrawal of the chance to experience the friendly, but fierce, competition that is such an important preparation for life in the real world, for every successful society in the history of the world, trans activism will ultimately disadvantage women in relation to men.

    Collaboration, or being a good team player, is great for subordinates or employees- but if you want to be a leader, a senior manager, a decision-maker of any kind, or an entrepreneur- then competition is king. The negative impact the loss of this highly-adapted social preparation for life will have on women’s careers cannot be understated. And unlike the esteem-based nonsense that has been taught in schools for years- sport’s benefits are only evidenced where hard work and commitment has a chance of paying off, in the form of winning, just like life.

  14. How about a broader picture, transgenderism hijacking the very domain of human rights (for the record, I don’t see anything wrong with men’s rights)? For those with mental health issues such as gender dysphoria there are already protections in place related to disability. To make “trans” a special group, an innate characteristic such as “gender identity” had to be fabricated. But maybe some delusional mental patients were just born with a “Napoleon identity”, who knows…

    On the contrary, those with power and influence are expected to support human rights and civil movements of the day, including what’s marketed as “the most marginalized identity”, or they might lose their power.

    The driving force of transgenderism isn’t feminism that says that gender is a social construct, it seems to be business interests and powerful narcissistic men with autogynephilia. Narcissists tend to present themselves as victims, demand compassion from the others and use shaming as a tool. In this dynamics, feminists, politicians and academia supporting them would be the “flying monkeys”.

  15. It’s obvious from your frame of reference, I’ve read a half-dozen news stories of transgender activists who were caught with child pornography in the last year- again, Yaniv. I have never yet seen evidence of transwomen being assaulted in locker rooms or over using their birth-gender bathroom. I see many claims of “fear” and “threats”, but quillette itself was accused of that by the knitting site Ravelry recently- and no such comments existed.

    Physical intervention- hormone treatment- can do permanent physical harm. Fertility rates can be affected, heart damage can occur- as I recall, this is from giving girls testosterone, but I might have that flipped- this is not some “no harm, no foul” process. They now provide puberty blockers, but I’ve not seen studies on longterm effects (Truth, they’d have to be twin studies). It’s not popular to discuss. And saying a child can just “transition back”- that might return their gender, but will not restore the person they would have been had no intervention taken place.

    I did not generalize about a significant portion of the population, I did make statements regarding items in the zeitgeist, and about a small (and therefore statistically not significant) portion of the population.

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