J. K. Rowling demonized for defending another woman who considers trans-women different from “biological women”

Well, it finally happened: writer J. K. Rowling, who’s been vocally progressive in her politics since she became famous, has now become demonized for being a “transphobe”. What that means is that she gave support, on Twitter, to another woman who was fired from her job (a charity) because she refused to recognize transsexual females (male —> female) as completely equivalent to biological females. The court case about the firing is summarized by Andrew Sullivan (who has views similar to Rowling) in his latest New York Magazine column, and he links to the judge’s decision declaring that the woman supported by Rowling, Maya Forstater, had every right to be fired. Another account of the case, insisting that Forstater was indeed a hateful transphobe, was given by Vox, which also displays many anti-Rowling tweets as if to buttress its stand. (Vox is quickly becoming like HuffPo.)

Here’s Sullivan’s account:

Among the views now held to be self-evident by parts of the left is that there is no distinction whatsoever between a woman and a trans woman. In Britain, where there is no First Amendment and the cops can knock on your door and, in extremis, jail you for thoughtcrimes, a recent case shows exactly what this movement is now about. It involves a woman who dissents from this new orthodoxy and believes that biological sex is not the same as socially constructed gender and that, although you can change your gender, you cannot change your sex. Maya Forstater expressed this view on social media and elsewhere — and as a result was fired by a charity called the Centre for Global Development.

It’s vital to note that Forstater is prepared to treat any trans woman as a woman in real life, defends trans people’s rights to define themselves as they wish, has not been charged with any kind of harassment or in-person abuse, is happy to accept anyone’s adoption of any of a thousand possible genders, but simply refuses to say what she doesn’t believe: that sex can be chosen or assigned, rather than simply observed as a matter of biology. “I accept everybody’s gender identity; I just do not believe it overrides their sex,” she told the court. “I refuse to believe human beings can change their sex.” This view — almost universally held for millennia until five minutes ago, and rooted in the plain facts of science — is now, the court ruled, subject to legal sanction. Such a view is “incompatible with human dignity and fundamental rights of others“ and “not worthy of respect in a democratic society.” So anyone expressing an opinion like Forstater’s can be fired with no recourse.

And Vox‘s article (click on screenshot):

An excerpt from Vox:

In 2018, a think tank called the Centre for Global Development (CGD) contracted with a British woman named Maya Forstater as a consultant. Forstater is a vocal TERF — or a trans-exclusionary radical feminist, a supporter of a transphobic political movement arguing that transgender women are men, and thus should be exempt from the legal and social protections afforded to women who are biologically assigned female at birth. TERF activism has been on the rise for years, particularly in the UK, where transmisogyny has become deeply embedded in feminist movements.

Throughout September 2018, and over the course of several different conversations in several different contexts, Forstater tweeted and retweeted a number of critical and dehumanizing things about both trans people in general and one specific nonbinary person in particular. The tweets made staff members at the CGD uncomfortable, and ultimately, in March 2019, the company declined to renew Forstater’s contract.

Forstater responded by suing the company and its director, claiming that not renewing her contract was workplace discrimination against which she was protected by Britain’s 2010 Equality Act — even though that act also prohibits discrimination on the basis of “gender reassignment.” The case was seen as a major test of the law, with queer and trans activists fearing that a ruling in Forstater’s favor would mean open season on harassment of marginalized communities in the workplace.

Instead, on December 18, the court dismissed Forstater’s claim, in a ruling which outlined her extensive history of transphobic remarks and found that she “is absolutist in her view of sex and … will refer to a person by the sex she considered appropriate even if it violates their dignity and/or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. The approach is not worthy of respect in a democratic society.”

It’s this committed ideological dedication to repudiating trans identity — the approach that’s been legally deemed unworthy of respect — that J.K. Rowling is championing in her “#IStandWithMaya” tweet. And as this context became clear to Harry Potter fans, a big, and sadly familiar, revolt occurred on social media.

Here’s Rowling’s tweet that got her into serious trouble on social media, though I doubt it will much affect her book sales:

Now if you read the court case, and look at Forstater’s “incriminating” tweets, you’ll see that they do not involve name-calling but rather a serious questioning about whether transwomen are equivalent to biological women. (Have a look; I don’t see them as “transphobic.”)  The only thing I can see as potentially offensive—and which could be considered harassment in the workplace if it was exercised consistently (it wasn’t), is that Forstater doesn’t like to use a trans person’s chosen pronouns if they don’t jibe with their biological sex:

But there is no accusation of personal or workplace harassment in the case; it was decided on the grounds that, well, here’s what the judge said:

Again, there is no accusation of biased behavior here, or of Forstater deliberately denigrating transsexual persons. What the ruling is based on is a lot of tweets in which Forstater questioned whether transwomen are exactly the same as biological women. And if you don’t accept that, you are automatically demonized, as she was, and are liable to lose your job.

Here’s my own view on this.  I think transsexuals of any kind are entitled to every protection of the law. I will not publicly attack their claim that they are women. I will use whatever pronouns they wish.

But do I think they are exactly the same as biological women? No, not in every sense. In athletics, for example, I don’t think anybody should be allowed to compete with biological women if they simply identify themselves as transwomen (and remember, in many places all you need to do is claim that identity to be accepted). Even hormone therapy for transwomen athletes may not be sufficient to justify their competing with XX-born biological women, given the advantage in musculature and bone strength that remains even after treatment.

And I can see that there is real room for debate about issues like girls or women changing in a locker room in front of a transwomen with a penis, or with transwomen with penises demanding that they must have their genitalia waxed by beauticians who work on biological women. I can understand why a woman who has been raped would rather be counseled by a biological woman than by a transwoman, for biological women often have a long history of experiencing the kind of misogyny (including rape) that transwomen (who face their own set of problems) haven’t experienced. Finally, it sticks in my craw to say that a man can get pregnant or have periods.  (I’ve long rejected the claim that there is no strict binary for sex: there is a strong bimodality—in effect a binary—with only a few intermediates, although for gender there are more intermediates but the situation still approximates a binary and is surely bimodal.)

So the question of “is a transwoman identical to a biological women?” has to be answered “for some purposes yes, for others no.”  I may be deemed a transphobe for saying this, but the views above are what I believe (at least right now), and I can argue for them rationally. There are valid debates to be had—debates that won’t occur if the Control Left simply shuts down those debates, deeming their opponents transphobes and trying to ruin the lives of those who don’t buy every single aspect of their ideology.

Sullivan expresses similar sentiments:

One of the long-held principles of the gay-rights movement has been that it’s wrong to fire someone just because they’re gay. Now, one of the principles of the LGBTQ movement is that it’s fine to fire someone if they disagree in the slightest with every claim of gender ideology.

This shift from a “live and let live” to a “do what I say or else” movement is one reason I don’t identify with this activism any more. I loathe the idea of forcing people to say things they don’t believe, demonizing and ostracizing them for their dissent, and enshrining in law penalties for wrongthink. I am very happy to live alongside people whose faith makes them consider me a sinner. As long as they cannot touch a hair on my head or use the law to punish me for what I believe and how I live, I’m fine. But that pluralist worldview is anathema to the “social justice” movement, as it proves every single day.

. . .Note that the judgment against Forstater rests not on the idea that she is wrong but that her argument is fundamentally illegitimate and shouldn’t even be entertained, let alone accorded respect. It rests on the banishment of a valid viewpoint from all public debate on a highly controversial matter. When you study the actual judgment, though, you find a lengthy discussion of chromosomes, hormones, gender, and sex in a complex arena. It’s clear that this is a real debate, that we have only just begun to think it through, that there are some fascinating philosophical questions involved, and that more research and debate is needed. But the ruling determines that one side in that debate can participate only under the threat of punitive sanctions.

A society that lives by these rules is not a free society. Resisting this authoritarianism of the left is as vital to our liberal democracy as resisting the authoritarianism of the right. Yes, I stand with Maya. And, no, this is not a drill. It’s a fight for freedom of thought and empirical reality.

Here are a few of the responses to Rowling’s tweet given in the Vox article.

What many of these reactions have in common is that the Tweeters declare not only that J. K. Rowling is a horrible human being, but that her entire writing legacy, especially the Harry Potter books, is to be disregarded or ignored because of her “transphobic” tweet (i.e., she has “completely incinerated her goodwill.”) In fact, in one sense Rowling is right: gender is not the same thing as sex, and for that reason transwomen are in some respects not identical to biological women born with two X chromosomes and with the usual sexual apparatus produced by them. I hasten to add once more that no transsexual should be treated, in moral or most legal senses, differently from anyone else. Nor do I think one should denigrate or harass them by being disrespectful toward their wishes about how to be regarded or addressed. But who can deny that in some aspects of life—for example, athletics—the two groups are not identical?

Once again we see our society riven by three characteristics of extremists on both Right and Left: their ideological absolutism, their lack of empathy, and their Manichaean view of people, who must be seen as either 100% good or 100% evil.

130 Comments

  1. max blancke
    Posted December 22, 2019 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    You must now believe that which you know to be false, for I have a certificate!

  2. notsecurelyanchored
    Posted December 22, 2019 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    I can appreciate your Manichean remark — when Harry Potter first came out Texas school teachers worried that their pupils were studying witchcraft; there were discussions about banning Rowling’s books, etc.

    • GBJames
      Posted December 22, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      That weirdness struck me, too.

      • GBJames
        Posted December 22, 2019 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        Oops… my comment was supposed to be a response to Max at #1.

  3. Posted December 22, 2019 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    I’m not entirely sure why or when it happened, but it has become “woke” to deny that differences exist between many things. I suppose it’s a misguided attempt to advocate for equal treatment, but acknowledging differences where they exist is not inherently bigoted. In fact, how can you claim to celebrate diversity while also denying differences?

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 22, 2019 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Indeed and it is a form of bigotry to deny differences.

      • merilee
        Posted December 26, 2019 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        +1 to Diana and Beef

    • darrelle
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      I agree. I can easily understand pendulum over-swings like this and have some sympathy for their position but I oppose it.

      And since I hardly see you around anymore let me take this opportunity to say Hello, great to see you! Hope you have a Merry Christmas (at least if you celebrate that holiday) and a Happy New Year.

  4. Posted December 22, 2019 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Vox returns a 404 Not Found on that reference.

  5. Posted December 22, 2019 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Thought and speech police are depressing. I was not aware of lack of freedom of speech and thought in Britain. We have aspects of thought and speech police in the U S still.

    I would not feel comfortable around tran gender men or women. I grew up in the fifties, when girls were girls and men were men. Watched Archie Bunker in All in the Family.

    There gave always ideas that were unmentionable in public discourse. That has not changed and probably will always be the case. The content of those forbidden thoughts and words keep changing. All in the name on good intentions to promote worthwhile ends.

    • Rita Prangle
      Posted December 22, 2019 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      You say you “would not feel comfortable around trans gender men or women.” But, you don’t that for sure, because you may be interacting with a transgender person without realizing it. While the person who is transgender is often detectable, that’s not always the case.

      Maybe you need to get out more.

    • Posted December 22, 2019 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      Even if it was always obvious who was transgender, why would it make you uncomfortable to be around them? What’s wrong with them?

      • Ann
        Posted December 23, 2019 at 12:17 am | Permalink

        Gender and/or dysphoria. It’s not a simple condition of choice or preference, it is a more or less mild mental illness (“less” meaning that chopping off body parts and self-castration are not exactly “mild”). Like anorexia, OCD or various other neuroses, syndromes, or paraphilia.

        That trans activists lobbied to get it re-named on the ICD doesn’t change the fact of what it is. Instrumentalising the argument of gays/lesbians that a sexual orientation different from the standard one is no illness was a “brilliant” obfuscation (just as keeping to instrumentalise intersex individuals in the trans debate, though they do not per se belong there).

        So, if she grew up during an era where transgender people were still identified as “transsexuals”, then she certainly is aware of what that means. Thus she either feels uncomfortable for being in the presence of someone who is ill, and she is being asked to go along with their mental construct, or she feels uncomfortable because she is in the face of someone who isn’t adhering to the norm of the species. Both of which is a natural reaction one can’t “simply not have”.

        • Ann
          Posted December 23, 2019 at 12:18 am | Permalink

          Gender and/or body dysphoria.

  6. flogus
    Posted December 22, 2019 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    > So the question of “is a transwoman identical to a biological women?” has to be answered “for some purposes yes, for others no.”

    If they are not the same in every way, then by definition, they are not identical. From Dictionary.com:(https://www.dictionary.com/browse/identical)

    “similar or alike in every way”

  7. Mal Morrison
    Posted December 22, 2019 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Sub

  8. Diana MacPherson
    Posted December 22, 2019 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    It bothers me that this woman was let go from her job for this (even a volunteer one) because, as Sullivan alludes to, people think, say, and tweet things we don’t agree with all the time. If she were tweeting something religious like “abortion is wrong because life begins at conception according to the Catholic Church and therefore abortion is murder” could she also be fired? I somehow think not.

    I started reading some of the tweets in response to the Vox article and it was madness. Someone wrote that you’re either with the bigots or for trans people. There was no middle ground with this person. No nuance and the constant screeching attacks were maddening. No listening just yelling. And I just didn’t see what Rowling said as transphobic as she seemed to state that she didn’t feel one should be fired for their opinions about something. Arguably, Rowling would have supported this woman in the abortion example as well.

    • Posted December 22, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think we even need “middle ground”. We can be completely for trans rights while also acknowledging the differences between trans and not-trans.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted December 22, 2019 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

        Well of course but this person didn’t want to hear anything except the established orthodoxy that Vox promoted in its article and anyone who questioned anything was immediately demonized and cast out.

    • Posted December 30, 2019 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

      FYI It was a paid job, at a think tank. I don’t know why Andrew Sullivan calls it a “charity“. Also the judgement is wild. The judge says her belief that there are only two sexes is “absolutist“ and brings in all this nonsense about intersex people. Also for some reason part of the tribunal case is about a conversation she had online with this fellow who considers himself non-binary, but he’s a man with a beard. Unambiguously male looking. He uses the pronouns them and they and she forgot to use them in a conversation with him where he was verbally attacking her about stuff to do with the Boy Scouts, that they’re both leaders in. It’s a very strange and disturbing case.

  9. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 22, 2019 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Well, now that the court in England has screwed this one up, next we will have our own Senate proclaiming a perfect phone call. It is all okay as long as we maintain the delusion.

  10. Filippo
    Posted December 22, 2019 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    sub

  11. Steve Pollard
    Posted December 22, 2019 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    I’m with Maya, JK and the boss on this one.

    The judge’s remarks are completely unacceptable. He seems to have paid no attention whatever to the overriding importance of freedom of speech (yes, it does still exist in this country). He has had a lot of pushback, and I’m sure there will be an appeal.

  12. Ullrich Fischer
    Posted December 22, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    FFS! Trans-bullies need to just STFU. One more progressive person attacked for defending someone against being vilified for making a 99.4% true statement. The ideological purity brigade on the left is just as damaging to the left as the GOP and other conservative extremists around the world.

    People who try to balance the competing rights claims of trans-women with the right of cis-women rape victims to not have to deal with male genitalia even if those genetalia are attached to a trans-woman are not TERFS (Trans Excluding Radical Feminists), they are BERFS (Bully Excluding Radical Feminists)!

  13. Posted December 22, 2019 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Finally, it sticks in my craw to say that a man can get pregnant or have periods.

    I know of at least one case where that was not the issue. The reverse was the case i.e. women were not allowed to admit they had periods.

    A small forum for women in which there was lively discussion about all sorts of issues relating to women and their biology admitted a trans woman to their membership. Soon afterwards, discussions about menstruation and issues pertaining to it were banned because they would, by definition, exclude the trans woman. Women who objected were censured or kicked off. Eventually, the only people on the forum were trans women.

  14. Posted December 22, 2019 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    An issue I’ve raised before: how do transexuals’ wishes about how to be referred to trump other people’s wishes about how to refer to them? If disrespecting the formers’ wishes amounts to “denigration and harassment,” how does disrespecting the latters’ wishes not amount to same?

    This, really, is Rowling’s point—“I loathe the idea of forcing people to say things they don’t believe, demonizing and ostracizing them for their dissent”—and I agree. If I choose to respect a transsexual’s wishes about what to be called, which in almost all cases I do, that’s a personal choice based on courtesy, not a moral or legal imperative. To argue otherwise, as Rowling points out, “rests on the banishment of a valid viewpoint from all public debate on a highly controversial matter.”

  15. Ullrich Fischer
    Posted December 22, 2019 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    I guess we can take some comfort, or maybe that should be shadenfruede — in the future come-uppance all these bullies will inevitably get when some offense archeologist digs up something they said years before they became woke. The logical end point of this madness is that everyone in the Cult of the Woke will eventually be cancelled and everyone will, by COW law, be required to shun and hate everyone else.

  16. eric
    Posted December 22, 2019 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Honestly, Ms. Forstater sounds like a bit of a bigot to me. Her points 30 and 31 are exactly the sort of thing someone who doesn’t want to recognize a trans person’s identity would say, and they really make me skeptical of her point 28 (i.e. that she unintentionally used “he”).

    Having said that, I’m generally on the side of PCC and Sullivan in thinking that merely being a bigot in private should not be a fireable offense. It would’ve been easy enough to take Ms. Forstater at her word that this was a mistake; the future is probably the best judge of that (i.e. if she keeps making the same “mistake”, it’s probably not a mistake but her being intentionally offensive to trans customers. Then you fire her. But if she doesn’t make the mistake again, don’t fire her).

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted December 22, 2019 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      So you believe people should be able to be forced to use language that they don’t wish to.
      And you believe people should be condemned for having a differing opinion on a controversial issue. An opinion that has substantial basis in reality.
      Interesting.
      I disagree completely.

      • eric
        Posted December 22, 2019 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        I believe a private charity should be allowed to fire someone for continuously violating their mission, outreach, and PR requirements. Firing someone for a first violation seems a bit extreme to me.

        But looking into the future, if she doesn’t wish to use the language her charity feels is important to their mission outreach to trans people, then clearly this is a bad fit.

        Nobody should ever be forced to toe the government line in public merely to exist. However, private employers are not the government. They are free to fire anyone who doesn’t agree with their mission. Had she been a DHS, DoD, EPA, etc. employee, she would’ve probably been okay. But she wasn’t. This is a private outfit. Cause bad PR or act against their mission, yes, they can and probably will fire you for that.

        • Al
          Posted December 23, 2019 at 6:52 am | Permalink

          If the mission of this charity involves respecting the wishes of trans people then they would do well to reject the hectoring BS of the trans activist bullies. In the rush to oil the squeaky wheel the opinions of the trans majority may have been sidelined because there are plenty out there who just wish that the loudmouths would shut up and stop embarrassing them.

          It does not serve trans individuals themselves to try and protect them from even the tiniest external challenge to their dignity. They will never gain the strength to develop an internal sense of self worth and they will forever be running away from accepting the biological reality of their own bodies. How can anyone ever be happy if their happiness depends on controlling the thoughts of others?

        • Michael Waterhouse
          Posted December 23, 2019 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

          Her firing is one thing, and the judge’s absurd statements another, but, I was referring to you condemning her as a bigot.

        • Filippo
          Posted December 25, 2019 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

          “Nobody should ever be forced to toe the government line in public merely to exist. However, private employers are not the government.”

          Hence conservatives, who worship at the altar of capitalism, as much as possible want to privatize government services.

        • Posted December 30, 2019 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

          She wasn’t fired by a charity, Sullivan got that wrong. It was a Think tank called the Centre for Global Development. Forstater is a tax expert. The think tank has nothing to do with anything to do with trans. She was fired because one of her coworkers, who is not trans, complained about tweets she had made that in a completely calm and rational way like he would expect from a think tank member discussed a law then being considered in the UK. That’s it. And there was no contention by her employer that she had fucked up their PR with her opinion-having. That’s one of the things that is so outrageous about this. She was punished by her employer for exercising her rights as a citizen of a democracy to participate in the legislative process. Her coworker wanted to seem super woke so boom, she’s out of a job.

    • Alan Henness
      Posted December 22, 2019 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure that if you check out this photo of Murray, you’ll realise that Maya simply made an honest mistake in using the pronoun ‘he’:

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-48295000

    • Ann
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 12:38 am | Permalink

      Have you had a peek at Gregor Murray? He is a “he” alright.

      I have no problem calling a transperson by their preferred gender pronoun, if they look the part. No, I’m not referring to gender stereotypes like pink dresses and long hair or a cravat. I at the very least expect an androgynous/metrosexual presentation which leaves gender ambiguous.

      But a burly biological man with a full beard who goes by the name of “Gregor” and designates as male everywhere except when he marches in a parade once or twice a year, hasn’t earned himself the courtesy for me to do so.

  17. Posted December 22, 2019 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Actually, history has shown that biological females *can be* the physical equivalent of males *if raised with the same diet, exercise, and expectations*. There have been (and still are, a few) societies in which women were raised exactly like men, and they grew up to be just as big, strong, and athletic as the men. Sometime read a marvelous book called “The Dominant Sex” by Vaerting & Vaerting. The women are, of course, still the sex that gets pregnant, bears young and lactates, and the men are still be the sex that has to deal with erectile dysfunction and prostate problems, but otherwise their physical capacities are the same.

    This is obviously not the case today, but it can be, given a few generations of exactly equal treatment. I daresay that in a society like that, there won’t be any “transgenders” because there will be no social advantage in being of one sex rather than the other.

    • Posted December 22, 2019 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      I would be curious about what historical examples you can adduce to make your point. Surely women athletes in, say, the Eastern Bloc were raised with precisely the same care as male athletes. Their physical capacities were not the same.

      If you are making a strong claim that is contradicted by all the evidence, I ask you to support your view that

      history has shown that biological females *can be* the physical equivalent of males *if raised with the same diet, exercise, and expectations*. There have been (and still are, a few) societies in which women were raised exactly like men, and they grew up to be just as big, strong, and athletic as the men.

    • max blancke
      Posted December 22, 2019 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      There are certainly a lot of interesting theories on human behavior and development that emerged in 1920s Germany.
      I like their assertion that “home work impairs physical fitness”, and that the ruling sex always possesses superior physical capacity.

      But I think even as published, their conclusions were questionable, based as they were on an incomplete knowledge of several carefully selected ancient societies.

      Today, lots of farm families (like mine) feed their kids the same food at the same table, and give those kids as much work as they can manage. And the physical size and abilities of the boys and girls diverge in a predictable manner.

      In physical competition, sex differences just keep showing predictable and stable differences in ability. I don’t think anyone can honestly allege that female athletes are given less nutritious meals, or that the women’s record for whatever would meet or exceed the men’s record if only she had been encouraged more.

    • EdwardM
      Posted December 22, 2019 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I’m going to join in and call you on this. Specifically, what history are you talking about? You’re making a specific claim, so back it up. If you can’t, I feel it’s safe to apply to your post Hitchen’s maxim about claims made without evidence.

    • eric
      Posted December 22, 2019 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      Individually, I agree. Statistically, you’re hiding a truth. If you look at male/female physical strength (as one example) there will certainly be overlap in the bell curves – i.e. some women will be stronger than some men. But the male average of the curve will be higher than the female average. Same goes for height.

      So I think the most accurate description of this is to say that (after puberty), for any given level of strength, there will be more men per the male population that meet it than there will be women per the female population that meet it.

      • max blancke
        Posted December 22, 2019 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

        From what I have seen, there is not even very much overlap in the two sets, unless you compare trained and fit women to untrained men. In a previous recent discussion, I referenced military training, and that would once again be a great source of data.
        When you look at the military data, it is not as simple as two curves with some degree of overlap. It is multidimensional. Figured in are the age of the participants, and the time they have been in training. Beyond the need for the participants to meet minimum physical standards is the very serious issue of the percentage of those who do meet the standards but who sustain serious injuries during training or duty. The rule of thumb that I learned was that women in their 20s and early 30s can be expected to sustain serious training injuries at twice the rate of men. Higher age is a factor in injuries for both sexes, but much more significant for females.

    • darrelle
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      This is not accurate in any way. Not even a little bit. There is a significant difference in physical strength between men and women and it’s due to genetics and our evolutionary history. It’s not a small difference, it’s large.

      Yes, there are outliers. They are a tiny percentage. They are statistically insignificant. Those outliers did not occur because they were given the same access to food as males and made to do the same chores as males. Their extraordinary strength is due to their genetic inheritance and perhaps also there conception and early development, just like everybody else.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      Which history shows us this?
      Given that the main differences arise at puberty as the hormones start flowing to prepare the bodies for their respective functions it is not even physiologically possible for your assertion to be correct.

      The difference in testosterone from puberty on is huge. An order of magnitude more. This is what causes the massive difference in physical strength, not magical or wishful thinking.

  18. Historian
    Posted December 22, 2019 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    “Once again we see our society riven by three characteristics of extremists on both Right and Left: their ideological absolutism, their lack of empathy, and their Manichaean view of people, who must be seen as either 100% good or 100% evil.”

    This assertion is undoubtedly true. But, the question arises: why now? What has happened in western society to incite tribalism, characterized by hate and contempt of those people who don’t agree with you on all matters? If this downward spiral is not arrested, the ultimate result will be the splintering of nation-states into feudal domains (metaphorically if not physically), where totalitarian leaders preach violence against the “other.” I am at a loss to come up with a solution. Trump and his toadies are a symptom of society unraveling. They have the power, so they are the much greater threat than the extreme left to a democratic and civil society. But, I have no doubt that if the extreme left should gain power (not likely any time soon), they would be as equally intolerant as Trump and his minions.

    In this historical era, it seems to me that cultural concerns are more important to people than economic ones. Pinker may be correct that the world has not been better, at least in material terms, but such evidence will hold little sway in a world where hating your neighbors because they merely challenge certain ideas has become commonplace. Free speech and the settling of disputes through democratic processes will be the victims.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 22, 2019 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      I heard an interview with Chris Rock and he was talking about how crowds are dangerous and as an entertainer you need to bring a crowd down. You can’t keep them hyped up for too long or they will turn violent. I think we’re dealing with that. The internet and an irresponsible POTUS has hyped the crowds. How we bring them down is anyone’s guess. Maybe Chris Rock knows.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted December 22, 2019 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        I believe you landed on the key – Facebook and other platforms have changed everything.

      • dd
        Posted December 22, 2019 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

        Diana, thanks that’s the best explanation I have heard.

        Leave it to a comedian….they are the sharpest social observers and critics.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted December 22, 2019 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

          I’ve always found Chris Rock insightful but after I heard this discussion I realized just how smart he is. I really love comedy and comedians. I find I share a lot of the way they think and a lot of their foibles and idiosyncrasies so I go out of my way to hear what they have to say about things. This was actually a great discussion with Al Franken on Sirius XM. If you can find it, it’s worth a listen. Chris Rock was agreeing with Al Franken that comedians make good politicians as Franken said his comedy background was valuable in politics. Chris said this was because of “crowd work” which actually seemed like a funny turn of phrase but as he explains crowds, it’s very insightful and something I hadn’t thought about.

          • EdwardM
            Posted December 22, 2019 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

            Well put, Diana. I see comedians in much the same way and Chris Rock is one of the best.

    • Posted December 22, 2019 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      So how does calling people you disagree with toadies snd intolerant help reduce hate and division?

    • revelator60
      Posted December 22, 2019 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      It could be that “hating your neighbors because they merely challenge certain ideas” is what happens in societies that are prosperous (where no one needs to worry about starving) and have the internet (which magnifies disputes). I hope this is not the case, because it means we are doomed.

      I also wonder if the political gridlock and hyper-capitalism that have dominated Western societies for the past few decades have made people feel that transformative change is out of grasp, so they engage in online culture wars instead.

    • Posted December 23, 2019 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      It’s not special to now. I remember all the gender crap in the 1990s (otherness, being “male-identified” – that is, liking science or engaging in rational thought which was seeing as selling out to the male patriarchy, etc. – doing “relational work” – the emotional crap trendy then for progressive women, calling male children “the oppressor”, and other nonsense). And writing a series of historical novels about the 1920s and 1930s has made me see how tribalism, extremism and totalitarian leaders are always there to be vigilant against.

  19. Roo
    Posted December 22, 2019 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    I think the semantic paradox always comes back to the idea that to say someone is ‘trans’ is to say they identify with a different gender. To then say that words like ‘gender’ and ‘biological female’ are essentially meaningless anyways makes the whole thing an exercise in futility – if there is no such thing, then how could they identify with it? If biological women are not differentiated by having a uterus, mammary glands and so on, then why not just say there’s no difference between men and women and so the idea of being trans is a nonstarter anyhow?

    I think a helpful analogy is to think of situations such as hysterectomies, mastectomies, infertility and low milk supply. On the one hand, you would never tell someone in such a situation that they were somehow ‘less of a woman’, given that they were without one of the parts / functions in the definition of biological woman. On the other, having been through the last two myself, I can say that having those feelings can be a normal part of the coping process, and it would in no way be helpful if people randomly pretended, for example, that women don’t really breastfeed because bottle feeding is exactly the same, ergo there’s nothing to feel one is missing out on. That wouldn’t change the underlying feelings and would simply add the stress of other people being weird and Kafka-esque in response. To some extent I think you have to acknowledge what typical biology looks like to begin with – making that taboo isn’t really healthy for anyone, in my opinion. It’s not like a trans person isn’t going to notice those differences and to me saying they don’t exist is like telling a woman with breast cancer that mastectomies don’t mean anything because not all women have breasts. Sure, but to many women it is still upsetting and needs to be addressed. As hard as it is, part of that is acknowledging what female anatomy typically is, so that the feelings that come along with that can be discussed.

    Regarding norms regarding nudity, waxing and so on – it’s bizarre to me that on the one hand you have MeToo and on the other you have people saying women should be forced into these situations when they’re not comfortable. I think ultimately it will have to end up that people take these things on a case by case basis – no one has to wax, shower with, or undress in front of anyone, of either gender, without consent on both sides. Which perhaps makes more sense – I guess in a way it doesn’t make sense to say you’d automatically be comfortable in those situations with someone of the same gender anyhow.

    • Posted December 23, 2019 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      This is so well said it needs to be a blog post.

    • Dean Reimer
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      “Regarding norms regarding nudity, waxing and so on – it’s bizarre to me that on the one hand you have MeToo and on the other you have people saying women should be forced into these situations when they’re not comfortable.”

      It’s especially bizarre because it comes from the same people!

      • GBJames
        Posted December 23, 2019 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think it does come from the same people. Or at least you need to define “same” for us.

  20. Alan Henness
    Posted December 22, 2019 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for that. I hope Maya appeals. She has a crowdjustice fundraiser that is about to hit £100,000 if anyone wants to help her:

    https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/lost-job-speaking-out/

    You said:

    I’ve long rejected the claim that there is no strict binary for sex: there is a strong bimodality—in effect a binary—with only a few intermediates

    I am not a biologist, but this letter was published in The Times recently from three who are and I think this summarises the situation nicely:

    Sir, Further to the Lib Dem policy of self-identifying one’s gender, sexual reproduction in almost all higher species, including humans, proceeds via fusion of one small and one large gamete (anisogamy). “Sex” refers to one of the two reproductive roles in this process. Individuals that have developed anatomies for producing either small or large gametes, regardless of their past, present or future functionality, are referred to as “males” and “females”, respectively. No anisogametic species produces more than two different gamete types. Thus, there are precisely two reproductive roles in anisogametic species. Thus, there are precisely two sexes — sex is binary.

    Dr Emma Hilton, developmental biologist, University of Manchester
    Dr Colin Wright, evolutionary biologist, Penn State University
    Professor Heather Heying, evolutionary biologist, Princeton University

    There are many other similar sources but I think the question this raises is, if there intermediaries as you say, some points between male and female – and I think you’re implying some kind of spread of characteristics – what is the parameter of that spread; the measure of those intermediates?

    Of course, even if you were to ascribe some intersex conditions (Disorders of Sex Development) to some kind of intermediates, this has nothing to do with being trans – as many DSD advocate organisations frequently point out. There is, as far as I’m aware, no evidence that transgender people are more likely to have a DSD than the rest of the population.

    • Posted December 22, 2019 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      I’m talking about hermaphrodites as sexual intermediates in humans, and there aren’t many. And no, I don’t see them as analogues to transsexualism. I was merely criticizing those who proclaim that “Sex is not binary”.

      • Alan Henness
        Posted December 22, 2019 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the clarification. The number of true hermaphrodites is indeed tiny (and I understand they are always infertile) but it’s the ‘spectrum of sex’ notion – some kind of intermediates along a spectrum from female to male – that seems to be used tirelessly by trans advocates to somehow justify their belief that they are not of the sex they are but of the other sex. I felt it was important to clarify that this is not the case.

    • Sastra
      Posted December 24, 2019 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      From what I can tell, one of the theories promoted by Trans RightsActivists is that transsexualism is, in fact, a form of intersex. “Gender identity” forms in the brains of gestating fetuses, usually matching the sex organs but sometimes deviating from them. A disorder in the development of gender identity is supposed to be similar to other dsds. Only, because the brain is most important to us, it ought to count more than the rest of the body.

      I’m not sure what evidence they have for it, but it’s at least somewhat conceivable.

      • Alan Henness
        Posted December 24, 2019 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        Sastra said:

        From what I can tell, one of the theories promoted by Trans RightsActivists is that transsexualism is, in fact, a form of intersex.

        They claim that but provide no evidence that it is the case. There is no evidence that I’m aware of that might show that those who say they are transgender are any more likely than the general population to have a DSD – particularly bearing in mind fewer than two out of every 10,000 births have a DSD.[1]

        As far as I can see, the notion of there being a spectrum of sex is simply used as a crutch on which to make the claim that people can be ‘in the wrong body’. There is no agreed scientific basis for someone having the mind of someone from the opposite sex or being born in the wrong body.[2] Remove that crutch and transgender ideology comes tumbling down.

        “Gender identity” forms in the brains of gestating fetuses

        It is usually accepted that gender is a social construct, arising out of (usually regressive and frequently demeaning) stereotypes of what it is to be masculine or feminine and societal roles of men and women, it’s difficult to see how how it could inform the development of a foetus.

        __________
        1 Sax D. How common is intersex? | Leonard Sax MD PhD | Physician, Psychologist, and Author. https://www.leonardsax.com/how-common-is-intersex-a-response-to-anne-fausto-sterling/.

        2 Bewley S, Clifford D, McCartney M, et al. Gender incongruence in children, adolescents, and adults. Br J Gen Pract 2019;69:170–1. doi:10.3399/bjgp19X701909

  21. K.G.
    Posted December 22, 2019 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    I really do not understand the difference between how society condemns people if they identify as another race than the one they were born (eg. it is not okay to say you are black if you were born white), but its fine to be born a certain biological sex and choose to identify as another. Look at the case of Rachel Dolezal who was demonized for saying she was black. Let’s say that a white person “identified” as indigenous and claimed all the benefits and credits given from the government. I don’t think anyone would think that was ok. Those born as biological males that seek to be housed in women’s prisons, shelters, compete in female sport, etc. seem to be doing the same thing. The most vociferous of the trans rights movement seems to be coming from biological males demanding the same rights as biological females and this makes me suspicious of their motives. There are sound reasons for supporting the protections that women have fought for and I worry about these being eroded by men (trans women) pushing into women’s protected spaces.

    Like J.K. Rowling I personally don’t care how you choose to identify or dress. But I don’t think you can tell people to suspend reality and demand that they agree with you.

  22. Posted December 22, 2019 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on TJ's Blog.

  23. Charles Sawicki
    Posted December 22, 2019 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    “However, I consider that the clainant’s view, in its absolutist nature, is incompatible with human dignity and fundamental rights of others.”
    OK, now the UK ,already involved in the Brexit disaster has found another way to deny reality and cause more problems. Stupid, Stupid…

  24. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 22, 2019 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Is it just me, or has Sullivan grown of late as prose stylist? I’ve been reading his stuff since he was with The New Republic half a lifetime ago, and later when he became one of the ur-bloggers, but now his writing seems fairly to zing across the page.

    I’d like to flatter myself that this is an objective aesthetic judgment, unclouded by his politics having come more closely to align with my own.

    • Posted December 22, 2019 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      “Is it just me, or has Sullivan grown of late as prose stylist?”

      If those choices are mutually exclusive, I’d have to say it’s just you who’s grown as prose stylist. And you weren’t all that bad to begin with. 😀

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 22, 2019 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        Good one, Gary. ‘Swhat I get for messing around with ambiguous elliptical clauses. 🙂

  25. Posted December 22, 2019 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    It’s clear to me that these “woke activists” aren’t left wing. At least not in spirit. They say that employers should have the right to fire based on what the employee expressed on social media on their own time as private individuals. That’s pretty bad.

    To have a meaningful discussion, we need to look at how we form categories. This hasn‘t happened, because woke culture is heir to postmodernist academia that is ignorant of cognitive sciences.

    What does it mean to regard “trans women as women”? This statement can refer to a number of things. Here are a few:

    (1) as a form of linguistic convention, it is already the case by calling individuals trans-women. Like with stepmothers and -fathers, or foster parents, an existing category is expanded to new members by analogical similarity (this is also nothing extraordinary). Here we recognize that someone assumes the identity and we go along with it. We do the same with stepmothers, who are seen as mothers for most purposes. Turn it around and you’ll see we don’t make DNA tests to see someone as a parent (or male or female). So the “reality” of a category can be based on something else than e.g. biology, even if it is eventually based on nature eventually.

    (2) We could understand “trans women are women” in a different way, when we go with the female/male brain idea. It can be the appeal (a function of communication) to treat people according to their internal sense of gender, and argue that of course their brain is biologically wired that way. That makes trans women also biological female. This problem has two prongs: one is the naturalistic fallacy, or the belief that only if something is biological real (i.e. natural), it’s acceptable. The other is confusion over what is exactly meant by “biological female”. Some activists and well-intentioned supporters misunderstand “biological female” and think it’s the denial of a “female brain in a male body” as biologically real. But this is typically not at all what people conventionally mean when they say “biologically female”. They mean of course normally developed female physique (normal here, as must said for the wokely afflicted is not a judgment but refers to statistical commonality as evolved through evolutionary pressures). Here I think the debates often involve a degree of talking cross purposes, and uncharitable interpretations.

    (3) “trans women are women” can also mean that there’s no meaningful distinction between those who have female sex characteristics and those who identify as female but have male sex characteristics (i.e. trans women). Of course that assertion is false, there are meaningful distinctions. I suspect that the superposition of several different meanings (I presented just three) drives the controversy and is highly beneficial for woke activists, who I view as the internet’s premier hate mob. Different tribes opposed in outrage is an effective, viral way to hog attention. But this can be diffused: To test this, we can simply ask if “trans*” are real. For the suffix to make any sense, there must be a category to transition from into another category, establishing these categories and their differences.

    Ultimately, it comes down what this whole mess even means. Women’s only spaces exist for several different reasons (a) out of sexual morals, e.g. toilets, change rooms (b) protective, because men are physically stronger and more aggressive, e.g. prisons, sports, (c) to alleviate historical discrimination of women, e.g. special interest groups (d) to accomodate needs of vulnerable women, e.g. shelter and probably more.

    I don’t have all the answers, but I can tell that this discussion right now is severely underpowered. Like everything woke culture touches, it’s not deeper than slogans.

    PS: my impression is that so-called TERFs are indeed often bigots. They shouldn’t lose their job over it, however.

    • Richard Sanderson🤴
      Posted December 22, 2019 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      “It’s clear to me that these “woke activists” aren’t left wing.”

      It is clear that they are not Liberal. A lot of their behaviour, intolerance, abusive assholery, and sadistic desire to bully women, is entirely in-line with far left activism.

      • Posted December 22, 2019 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        Nothing says “Far Left” more than support from mega corporations from Disney to Gilette to Pepsi Coke.

        • Richard Sanderson🤴
          Posted December 23, 2019 at 5:16 am | Permalink

          Mega corporations are more than happy to get behind some wokewashing.

          Capitalism in action.

          The “woke activists” easily fit into the Far Left category, as opposed to any other category, despite “mega corps” throwing some money at them.

    • Sastra
      Posted December 24, 2019 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      It is my strong impression, based on what you’ve written here, that the majority of trans-rights supporters would have no hesitation in branding you a ‘TERF,’ and labeling your views “bigotry.”

      I don’t agree. I’m wondering, though, who you’re thinking of. “TERF” as a pejorative has gotten sloppier about who’s included (you don’t have to be all that trans-exclusionary, all that radical, or all that feminist anymore), but it still indicates the more liberal sort of critic, and still excludes the right wing conservative religious “abomination of God” types.

      • Posted December 24, 2019 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        I have no doubt that someone exists to meet any arbitrarily extreme view, and that this might motivate some to throw insults around. They do this anyway. The question is, on what grounds?

        Before I posted, I did follow down a few links Jerry provided and there was one Sheila Jeffreys, who refuses to use preferred pronouns and regards trans women as “parasites”. I saw occasionally similar takes, but don’t keep a list.

        I’m aware that insults are bandied about quickly as soon as they appear to have currency within a tribe. The same has happened with “alt right”, “regressives” and “social justice warriors”.

  26. dd
    Posted December 22, 2019 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Question for the house:

    Why is it that so many trans dust-ups involve male to female, but almost never female-to-male?????

    Curious minds want to hear.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 22, 2019 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      I wonder if it’s that old Left dilemma of who is more oppressed. You’re dealing with two oppressed groups with completing needs. There is bound to be conflict. Strangely, you don’t see it as profoundly in something like Jewish men refusing to sit next to women. The women are pushed aside.

    • RS
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      A number of factors, I think. For one, generally speaking, trans men pass more easily than trans women. For another, given the sexism if not outright misogyny in society, I think many people find it easier to wrap their heads around the idea of a woman wanting to be a man than a man wanting to be a woman. (Which is oversimplifying the issue, but you know what I mean. How many stories – fictional or non – can you think of where a woman dresses as a man so she can do a courageous thing? I can’t think of a single instance in which the opposite happens. Achilles dresses as a woman to AVOID doing the courageous thing. Now I’m getting off track.)

      Along similar lines, I imagine most trans men know what would happen to them if they were to start talking about their periods in an all-male setting.

    • Sastra
      Posted December 24, 2019 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      I think the reason you may see more discussion concerning trans women than trans men has to do with feminism: women’s “safe spaces” and equity. Generally speaking, Men are more of a threat to women than the other way around. Also, men have historically been more privileged, and women oppressed. Bathrooms, changing rooms, women’s shelters are ‘safe spaces.’ Women’s sports, women’s awards, and positions specifically reserved for women help to address inequality.

      Trans women are trans women: men who identify as women. It’s a matter, then, of competing rights.

      There’s actually been a lot of attention directed towards trans men, but for different reasons. The number of teenage girls suddenly insisting they’re boys and demanding to transition has skyrocketed. Both social conditions and social media look suspiciously like causal factors here.

    • Posted December 30, 2019 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

      Good question. Trans ideology is elaborate and weird. Also extreme, there could easily be a movement supporting equal rights for transgender people that was completely different from this. That didn’t have the ‘biological sex isn’t real’ stuff or any of various other things. One element of this transgender ideology is it’s absorbed all kinds of hyper misogynist Men’s Rights Activist ideology. It’s super noticeable on Twitter that if a woman makes some comment critical of trans ideology she’ll get monstered, maybe even suspended or banned by Twitter. Men say the same thing nothing happens. It’s straight up misogyny.

  27. James Walker
    Posted December 22, 2019 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    When I came out as a gay man in the late 1980s I got to know a number of transsexuals (as they were then called). First they tended to be gay men who transitioned to women, later lesbians who transitioned to men. Their goal was to ‘pass’ as the opposite sex and they didn’t make demands on inclusion in women’s (or gay men’s) spaces. They made every effort to conform outwardly and often sought surgery. I never really understood the reasoning behind their transition, which seemed to rely on strict adherence to sex stereotypes, but I was (and still am) happy to treat them as the sex they wanted to be identified with.

    At that time, there was a clear understanding that sex and gender were different things, and ‘genderbending’ (dressing in gender non-conforming ways) was a way or rebelling against sex stereotypes rather than a form of transition.

    Beginning in the 90s I noticed that people started using ‘gender’ to refer to what I would call ‘sex’ (I remember being bemused by a character in a TV show asking the doctor about her unborn baby’s gender). Over the years gay and lesbian groups started branding themselves as ‘queer’ (a term I’ve never liked because I grew up with it as an insult) and it became less about who you were attracted to and more about your identity. At this point groups I belonged to started to include cross-dressing straight men and people who claimed to be ‘queer’ but were otherwise completely heterosexual and gender-conforming.

    Now we are at the point where ‘trans’ is an umbrella term for any kind of gender non-conformance, ‘gender’ and ‘sex’ are used interchangeably, and no effort is required to change your appearance or seek surgery. I think this is what accounts for the belief that if you declare yourself ‘trans’ it not only changes your biology, it also gives you a license to demonize people who don’t agree with you. This has become such orthodoxy in what’s now the LGBTQWTF community that I’ve lost friendships with other gay men because I still believe there’s a difference between sex and gender.

    Oddly, the transsexuals I know are the least likely to engage in online outrage, most of which seems be led by heterosexuals.

    • Deodand
      Posted December 22, 2019 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      That last part does not surprise me, one of the ways that SJWs prove themselves is to become violently outraged on behalf of others.

      You see, if you do not constantly publicly prove you are a ‘good’ person, then you must be a ‘bad’ person and deserve whatever happens to you.

    • Ann
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 5:59 am | Permalink

      All agreed, and in my own background as a bisexual woman who grew up not much later than you.

      What I have come to worry by now, and I am of a dark, less trustful leaning where it comes to thinking about people’s agendas, is what the real background of the current deluge of transgender children, some even prepubescend, and youths transitioning is – and why there is such a nonsensically enormous backlash against anyone who questions it.

      Some things are relatively up front and clear. Doctors, drug makers and hospitals have a monetary interest. I’d really love to see solid statistics on how much profit is being made – especially over the entire lifespans of transitioned people.

      But – given that more and more researchers lately discover that a lot of trans-children/trans-youths are discovered being gay/lesbian and/or autistic – I wonder whether it is more bearable these days for parents and society to have lots of “wrong-bodied” heterosexuals and to help them getting there, instead of healthy, self-positive homosexuals? With the awful side effect that most of these youths will eventually be either sterile or have huge difficulties in having children themselves.

      It sort of by now starts to feel a whole lot like gay therapy, just differently and much easier to achieve with far less pushback from the LGB community.

      Plus the added fab side effect (in the eyes of quite a few men) that feminists asked for it and now earn themselves having the clock turned back by a mile and some.

      Sort of a three for one strike thing. And the woke left doesn’t even notice.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted December 23, 2019 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        There was a guest on Real Time one evening with Andrew Sullivan (not that she was with him but I remember he happened to be on that night and I think it sometimes helps to have a gay person on to support these notions) who said essentially what you said about kids that if you wait a few years turn out gay and go on to lead healthy gay lives. Of course she suffered huge backlash but her observations were based on science and facts not ideology. I almost liken some of the reactions to the 80s and the Satanic Panic.

        • Ann
          Posted December 23, 2019 at 10:25 am | Permalink

          Dr. James Caspian wanted to follow up on these findings, and was expressly forbidden to do so by the Tavistock and the uni, even though there are already hundreds of confirmed cases which point towards such an eventual result. It boggles the mind and suggests we might end up with a deluge of very disappointed, and angry, middle-aged LGB people “cured” right out of their sexual orientation.

        • dd
          Posted December 23, 2019 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

          Dr. Deborah Soh????? I think that’s the person?

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted December 23, 2019 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

            Yeah I think that was her.

            • Ann
              Posted December 24, 2019 at 12:55 am | Permalink

              No, I meant James Caspian, UK.

              Dr. Soh is Canadian, I see just now.

              Good, if there are more than just one – then scientists and doctors finally start making their stand. But after what was done to Dr. Zucker, no one has to be astonished few would dare total and personal obliteration.

        • dd
          Posted December 23, 2019 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

          Dr. Deborah Soh….I think that’s who you mean.

    • Posted December 30, 2019 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

      Beautifully put. I have heard the same story from gay people I know on Twitter. This slow change over time to this new situation that is super bizarre.

      Just the other day I read a thread on Twitter where a bunch of gay and lesbian people were saying how much they hate the term “queer“. Including because it was a taunt and a threat thrown at them when they were growing up.

      This is some era. 😟

  28. Richard Sanderson🤴
    Posted December 22, 2019 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    A lot of the #NewRacist types, like Peter “Humanisticus” Ferguson, jumped on the anti-science bandwagon a long time ago, and are currently spewing all manner of creationist nonsense on social media.

    No wonder the ‘skepticism’ fell apart. It was full of abusive frauds like PZ Myers and Ferguson.

  29. Posted December 22, 2019 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    So what are the reproductive capabilities after a trans person has transitioned (surgically?).
    Can a male who has become a female, capable of carrying a baby to term?
    Can a female who has become a male, capable of fathering children?
    If not, then while they may be a different gender, they are not equivalent to the non-trans sex.

  30. Posted December 22, 2019 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  31. Jon Gallant
    Posted December 22, 2019 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    I would guess that the trans activists would
    mostly self-identify as “Left, though perhaps some of the posters above might prefer to call them “trans-Left”. In any case, this playground of trans-sexism and (thank Tuvel) trans-racism makes me eager to see the next logical step: trans-speciesism. Personally, I have yet to decide whether to self-identify as a coatimundi or a wallaby; there is much to said for both. BTW, what pronoun should those of us who identify as animals choose?

    • Adam M.
      Posted December 22, 2019 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

      It’s already a thing, but it’s hard to know how seriously to take those people…

  32. russellblackford
    Posted December 22, 2019 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been researching the case law that lies behind this decision, and it’s proving to be a fascinating exercise. I hope to write more formally on the topic elsewhere, but a couple of observations…

    First, I support laws that prevent employers from firing employees merely because of their religious, political, or philosophical views expressed outside the workplace (or even, in a wide range of cases, such as the James Damore situation,inside the workplace). IMO, it’s good that the UK has a law that does this (though it’s restricted to religious and philosophical views, and the case law says that it would not include, for example, merely supporting a particular political party).

    Second, the courts and tribunals in the UK have developed, from pretty weak foundations in European human rights law, a doctrine that the religious or philosophical views in question exclude those that are “[not] worthy of respect in a democratic society” and/or are “incompatible with human dignity” and/or are “[in] conflict with the fundamental​ rights of others.”

    When you delve into the earlier cases, you can get a sense as to why something like this might be needed in at least some imaginable circumstances. The European Convention on Human Rights covers, for example, the right of parents to educate kids in accordance with their (the parents’) chosen religion or belief. The European Court of Human Rights would not, for example, want this to mean a right to bring up your kid as a Nazi, or a right for Nazis to establish schools for that purpose. For better or worse, the British courts are interpreting provisions like the one in question in the Forstater case as congruent with provisions in the European Convention on Human Rights, so they take notice of cases interpreting the Convention.

    But the Forstater case also shows how dangerous this kind of reading down of rights can be. It’s not as if Maya Forstater was expressing some extreme or crazy view, such as the view expressed by some feminists in the past that undergoing gender reassignment is, somehow, raping women. Forstater appears to hold relatively mild gender-critical views and to have expressed them with considerable efforts at civility despite provocation. But the tribunal member was still able to conclude that her views are, basically, beyond the pale of toleration in a democratic society. For me, that raises the question of what *other* relatively mild views, or even less mild but surely tolerable ones, will be determined in the future by British courts and tribunals to be beyond the pale of toleration.

    I think there’s a good chance that an appeal would succeed in this case. It pushes beyond the previous case law, at least as I interpret it, and it’s a decision by a tribunal member who appears to be pretty much at the bottom of the totem pole of the British system of courts and tribunals. I hope that Ms Forstater will, indeed, appeal, and that we’ll get higher level judicial bodies in the UK confirming that the idea of some religious or philosophical beliefs being beyond the pale of toleration has to be to be interpreted very narrowly and predictably if laws like the one relied on in this case are to have any meaning and give genuine prediction to people with unpopular views. Tribunal members can’t be allowed to just declare any viewpoint that they dislike as beyond the pale of democratic toleration and not protected by the law – which is pretty much what happened here.

    • russellblackford
      Posted December 22, 2019 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

      Excuse typos, etc., from writing the above quickly. E.g. that should say “genuine protection to people with unpopular views” near the end.

  33. dd
    Posted December 22, 2019 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    ” LGBTQ advocacy group @glaad says they reached out to @jk_rowling’s PR team and offered to facilitate an off-the-record discussion between the best-selling author and members of the trans community. Rowling’s reps declined. ”

    https://www.dailywire.com/news/glaad-tried-to-force-jk-rowling-to-apologize-for-transphobic-comments-she-refused?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=benshapiro

  34. Posted December 22, 2019 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    This shaming and demonizing must stop. Minorities have equal rights—they do not get to dictate what people can say and think.

  35. Chairephon
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    I love this site, but you are on the wrong side of this issue. Ms. Forstater has the right to say or write any bigoted thing she wants, but she is not then free from criticism or consequences for making those statements. Her language in statement #28, ‘I had simply forgotten that this man demands …etc.” is exactly as the judge describes it “incompatible with the dignity and human rights of others”. And the statements following are worse. If she had been posting about homosexuals choosing perversion or describing a co-workers interracial marriage as miscegenation, would you be as quick to criticize an employer for not wanting to be associated with such a person or a judge for dismissing the idea that that person is being discriminated against for holding and publicly stating those views?

    Sullivan and some commenters on this site are straw manning the argument that trans and trans supporting people are making. No one is denying that biologically determined sex differences exist. Indeed, trans and gender queer people wake up every morning and deal with the fact that biology is not on their side. What they are saying is another version of biology is not destiny and that societal norms and traditions are not inclusive enough. The rights revolution of recent decades has been fuelled by the same arguments. Society survived, adjusted and came through it a little more tolerant. Do we really have to “be fair” to the intolerant and the bigoted again as we negotiate the issues of gender identity?

    This has gotten quite long, but I will say that my perception and appreciation of JK Rowling’s work is diminished by her support of an avowed bigot despite being impressed by her stance on a lot of issues. I am capable of separating the art from the artist and whatever odious views or actions they may be associated with, but it’s difficult.

    • Ann
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      “homosexuals choosing perversion”

      That would be a derogatory religious or moral opinion – not scientific fact.

      “describing a co-workers interracial marriage as miscegenation”

      That would be a derogatory religious or moral opinion – not scientific fact.

      “Transwomen are not biological women”

      This is a scientific fact.

      “Males cannot change sex”

      This is a scientific fact.

      “Sex is immutable”

      This is a scientific fact.

      You don’t seem to acknowledge the differences between opinions and science. No one, absolutely not a single person should have to fear “consequences” for stating scientific facts in our day and age. Otherwise we would be regressing to the days of Copernicus and Galileo Galilei.

      “No one is denying that biologically determined sex differences exist.”

      Oh but the trans activists talked about here absolutely do that. They (as well as that rather nutty judge) equate sex and gender, and they ram this misrepresentation of facts down people’s throats. Which is harming the less blinkered and less violent transpeople much, much more than they may think. A lot of demands go too far and cost women and bis/lesbians/gays hard-won rights as we speak. That’s not going to meet with approval or continued tolerance.

      • Chairephon
        Posted December 23, 2019 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        Yes, it’s true that male and female are determined by XX or XY and no one can change what genetics has dealt them even if it has left them intersexed or of indeterminate sex. This is not in dispute or even very interesting to talk about. It is also true that there are people who feel they are in the wrong body and, if they could change their chromosomal make up to conform to their internal image, they would. These feelings are no more their opinion or under their control than sexual preference is for homosexuals. Gender identity is a thing that usually maps to chromosomal sexual identity, but not always and not always perfectly. Hence the need to keep adding letters to the LGTBQ alphabet. It is the intersection between the fact that sex and gender are two different things that leads us logically to a world where there are men who menstruate and women who happen to have penises (and nite that I didn’t say ‘males who …”)The judge is correct to frame this as a human rights issue. Pointing out that a trans man or woman is not a real male or female might be ‘stating a scientific fact’, but in the context it is as bigoted and diminishing as telling a homosexual man that most men are attracted to women or a black science student that most physicists are white.

        • Alan Henness
          Posted December 23, 2019 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

          Citations please.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      Gregory Murray looks exactly like a man. Sure they ask they they be referred to in any prefered way but to get so upset over supposed misgendering is petty nonsense.
      Why don’t you believe she ‘forgot’.

      One of the more annoying traits of the ctrl left and ‘activists’ is that they all seem to be mind readers and really do know what is in others minds, all the better to condemn them for thought crime.

      There are enough sensible trans people expressing annoyance and dismay at the extreme behaviours of trans activism to to give me certainty that I and this site are on the right side of the issue and the shrieking activists are mostly wrong.

    • Sastra
      Posted December 24, 2019 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      The analogies you use to represent bigotry all come down to expressions of disgust. That’s why they’re good examples. Criticism of trans ideology, however, is not fueled by disgust,and therefore not bigoted. It rests on philosophical, scientific, and political arguments. That’s why Ms. Forstater isn’t a bigot, regardless of whether her beliefs are true or not.

      As for her forgetting which pronoun to use for Gregor Murray, I don’t blame her. Although “identifying” as female, Murray has done absolutely nothing to transition whatsoever. Looks like any other bearded guy, but spends energy and effort making a constant point about how oh, this is transgenderism expression, too. Whole life is a game of “gotcha.”

      Guy’s a troll. Weep not for Gregor Murray.

      By the way, you do realize that if Maya’s a “bigot,”so’s our host, right?

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted December 24, 2019 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        You put this very well, Sastra. Glad to see you posting!

  36. Harrison
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    The argument over who should get access to womens’ spaces doesn’t have any solutions that will please everyone, but it does have a simple solution: Get rid of sex-exclusive spaces. Forced integration for all. No more “separate but equal.”

    • Ann
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      This is nonsense. Sex-exclusive spaces are safe spaces, and they are safe spaces for good reasons.

      Forcing biological women into giving them up means more rape, less security, less ability to live in the public spaces, and much more violence and fear. This sort of demand is just now costing the general trans movement more good will from women than they think. They completely underestimate what is happening there.

  37. Kevin Brinck
    Posted December 23, 2019 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    JKR is a famous example of an author who doesn’t understand her own characters, so I’m not surprised when her empathic circle is constrained to the ideas she grew up with.

    • GBJames
      Posted December 23, 2019 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      I assume that you understand these characters completely and can explain them to the benighted author.

    • Filippo
      Posted December 25, 2019 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      You should hire on as a New York Times film critic.

  38. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted January 9, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Seems to me Twitter as media is the problem here. The UK law seems reasonable enough, but Forstater has a problem.

    Forstater’s behavior is unnecessarily rude, except if the discussion is sex,.And she will be mistaken a few percent of the time since you can’t always determine modality of sex primarily due to genetic or developmental differences, or even from observation.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted January 9, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      Her supposed rudeness compared to Trans activists speaking about anyone who disagrees with them is miniscule.

      If she or anyone occasionally makes a mistake because it isn’t apparent in a tiny percentage of circumstances well, lets just move on.

      And the person she allegedly misgendered by mistake looks exactly like a man.

      And the ‘rudeness’ she received for that is of the charts.

      People with differing opinions may seem ‘rude’ if they disagree with your position, but, it ain’t necessarily so.

      I don’t think she’s rude, just opinionated.

    • Alan Henness
      Posted January 9, 2020 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      This article is about the person Maya accidentally referred to as ‘he’ instead of ‘they’:

      https://www.eveningtelegraph.co.uk/fp/woman-who-received-abuse-from-dundee-councillor-gregor-murray-speaks-out/


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