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While I appreciate the author's attempt to create social comity by splitting the linguistic difference, I don't think this proposal accomplishes much.

The entire reason to insist that "transwomen are women, period" is to make it impossible to distinguish between woman (1) and woman (2) and therefore short-circuit the debate about "the important moral and political questions around transgender individuals". How are these definitions better than saying "(cis)woman" and "transwoman"?

The entire Orwellian exercise is to make the debate impossible by eliminating the ability of language to express the difference between woman (1) and woman (2), and collapse them into the same indistinguishable entity. This proposed solution will please no one and only further obscure the important issues by making them harder to discuss.

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founding

Thank you. This is exactly right.

And given your argument, there is an extremely simple solution. Every dictionary gives this definition: "an adult female human."

We absolutely need a word for this concept, and since everyone has agreed on it for hundreds of years, it's ridiculous to change it. And by the way, "female" is a biological term that applies to millions of species of plants and animals, so we need that too. When you have a new concept, the only reasonable protocol is to make up a new name or borrow one from a very different subject area so there can be no confusion. "Trans woman" makes no sense because they contradict. transwoman or trans-woman is fine because those are different words.

The crazy thing is these are the people who hate "binary" classifications ... until it suits their purpose of deception

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I think it's more emotional than tactical.

Trans people want to be indistinguishable from their desired sex/gender, so they automatically view any attempt to draw/maintain such a distinction as hurtful and an attack on their desired social identity.

Of course, demanding that everyone else ignore (or at least pretend to ignore) material reality so as to spare their entitled feelings reeks of narcissism.

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Respectfully, I think that this is profoundly wrong. I don't doubt the (timeless) existence of trans people who simply want to live lives concordant with their gender identity. I see nothing narcissistic in that. But there is a segment of the social justice left for whom the redefinition of words is clearly a tactic intended to make debate either semantically or socially impossible. The phrase "social justice" is one such example. The redefinition of "racism" is another.

Many of the most strident defenders of this orthodoxy are not trans themselves. This is about power. Orwell completely understood this totalitarian tactic. See "1984" and "Politics of the English Language".

I don't think you can understand our current moment without understanding that your empathy is being weaponized in the service of power-seeking, not only of activists but also of the most privileged members of society. It's the "educated" and credentialed caste who are the real ideological enforcers.

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founding

I think you've nailed it, but miles is on to something that helps explain what you're saying - narcissism. Specifically, "collective narcissism., on which there is much recent research, and which applies to identity politics. In short, people join ID groups to bolster their fragile ego, and promote their group identity for narcissistic reasons. This is usually applied to the right, but it fits. Narcissists are very strategic, totally entitled, and engage in narcissistic rage, which endures. Kids, of course, start out as pure narcissists, so tactical temper-tantrums work similarly.

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I think the end result is the same - especially the line "my existence is not up for debate" being used as a discussion-stopper for everything from trans athletes to improvised pronouns. I just see the starting point as a temper tantrum rather than linguistic 4-D Chess

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We're probably not that far apart. But when my kids had a temper-tantrum, it was often tactical!

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The proposed definition of woman ("wants to be treated as a woman") will never be accepted by trans activists, because it implicitly acknowledges the inconvenient fact that the trans movement wants to deny at all costs:

Sex change operations (gender reassignment surgery is an incoherent term) don't actually change a person's sex. There's no surgery in the world that will make a biological male capable of menstruating and having babies, and similarly no surgery that will make a biological female produce semen.

The surgeries & hormones can create a superficial facsimile of the opposite sex, but that's not what anybody seeking those surgeries (or selling them, for that matter) wants to hear. Hence all the convoluted sophistries about gender identities and "sex is a spectrum" wishful thinking, all of which increasingly resembles religious apologetics.

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The women(2) definition is absurd. It's like defining "professional basketball player"(2) as anyone who WANTS to be a "professional basketball player"(1), but is not. How is that in any way useful?

The project of the sane must now be to reclaim the language that has been lost to the "trans" activist assault.

"Woman" means woman(1), period.

Sex is DETERMINED at birth (with 99.98% accuracy), not "assigned".

It is physically impossible to "transition" the sex of a mammal. (So "trans" should always be in quotes: never in the history of the world has the sex of any mammal, including any human, been "transitioned" from one to the other.)

And this is, fundamentally, kind.

Because it is unkind to let people continue to believe that they are professional basketball players when they are, in fact, not.

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Yes, “transprofessional professional basketball player” is a good euphemism for “delusional” and “not a professional basketball player.” Very apt.

Not sure I agree with your point that it’s “kind,” per se; but kindness is heavily overrated compared to higher virtues like honesty. And this is surely honest.

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Read some of the personal stories of detransatoners who underwent disfiguring surgeries. Would it not have been kinder to have told them up front that changing sex is impossible?

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Yes, I’ve read them. They’re tragic and horrifying. On this we agree, and your point is well taken.

I only mean to suggest that there are higher virtues, like honesty and courage and prudence, which are ultimately better servants of Truth and Beauty. Without resting one’s case on higher virtues, the discourse becomes a war of all-against-all with varying definitions of what it means to be “kind.”

If course, I agree with you that it isn’t kind to nurse a delusion. But it seems like school administrators disagree.

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"I only mean to suggest that there are higher virtues, like honesty and courage and prudence, which are ultimately better servants of Truth and Beauty."

I agree. But we still need a defense against the false charge of unkindness.

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It seems to me the author is labouring under the misapprehension that this is a matter of logical confusion in people of good faith, that a bit of rational argument can fix.

It isn't.

It is about emotions and desire.

The desire of trans women to be socially validated as the women they desperately want to be, and to force "society", and every individual in it, to do just that.

That is why this kind of argument will go nowhere.

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Just like all lies become increasingly difficult to prop up because of the risk of utterances that identify the lie, the same is true with absurdity of language use in the culture war.

This absurd denial by the radical left (aka Democrats) that there are two biological genders is at risk of unraveling their entire narrative as they also opine for women's rights.

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This is the common-sense view of most people, I should think, but it precisely one the trans activists and their "allies" refuse, because it does not meet their objective, to demand the validation of their self concept, period. Any reminder that they are NOT "just another woman" shatters their sense of self and is thus "hateful, cruel, bigoted", etc.

At most some reluctantly accept a distinction between "cis-women" and "trans-women" as simply variations of the same thing.

So I'm not sure how useful this exercise is.

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Jun 22, 2022Liked by Matt Lutz

I am at ease with the two-fold definition provided here. I consistently appreciate the attempt at finding middle-ground at Persuasion.

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Sometimes the middle ground is irrational. As is clearly demonstrated in this essay. If one side says 2+2 = 4 and another says it is 8, there is no virtue in finding middle ground at 6.

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I would like to propose two definitions of a black person. A black person is a) someone whose ancestors were slaves in the US and b) anyone who is not (a) but desires to be (a). Now to be inclusive we shall henceforth have two definitions of black person. This will solve the racism directed at asian people who are rejected by selective universities. They can then faithfully put on their application that they are a black person. And Harvard and Yale will be okay with that. Right? And Black Lives Matter, since they are trans inclusive, will also be okay with it, as this is trans racially inclusive. Right?

Actually, nevermind that is lunacy.

Trans “women” are men. Instead of creating another definition of women to satisfy the desires of men who want to be women how about the men who desire to be women accept reality and satisfy my desire not to affirm crazy thinking?

We should actually stop calling the men who want to be women “trans women” at all. We should call them trans men. Because they are men who want to transition away from being men. But they can’t because physical reality. It is about time society stops playing along with the crazy games of this cult out of a desire to be “kind.” It isn’t kind to expect people to affirm irrational ideas. The people who are demanding others change their rational usage of language is concerning to me. They are starting to try to use the government-- aka violence -- to require it.

Men who don’t want to be men and women who don’t want to be women should be free to have those desires and behave in any gendered way they wish without fear. However they do not have the right to coerce other people to affirm the idea that they are in fact the sex they desire to be. Any coercion to do so is in fact immoral. To assist in their coercion is likewise immoral.

If a trans man wants me call him “she”--he will have to demonstrate to me he realizes he isnt a woman and that he isn’t a self-absorbed asshole. Lia Thomas for example--he has not demonstrated this. Any trans man who competes in women sports fails this criteria.

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It is common courtesy to call someone by the way they present themselves to the world. I resent being coerced into describing myself as male/female because I believe it is obvious and I already feel discriminated enough because of my gender. Years ago, when I lived in the West Village, we referred to any man who presented himself as a woman with female pronouns -- it's just common courtesy to treat people as they define themselves. To your point, I did not understand the outrage over Prof. Rachael Dolezal, and generally think that anyone who wants to live out their life with a different presentation than the way they were born should be able to do so, and we should accommodate them to the extent it doesn't cause harm. Now if we want to talk about how people not born to a particular group should refrain from competing with other members of that group for places because of fairness issues, that is a valid debate -- e.g. Dolezal can live her life as Black, but cannot check that box on applications where she might gain an advantage, or a bio-man cannot check the f box on a sports event to compete on the women's soccer team, those are reasonable arguments to have. But I think you go too far when you refuse to respect people's choices of how they want to be addressed socially. Better to go the Quaker-route and refrain from using pronouns altogether if you can't bring yourself to call Ms. Thomas "she."

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I will agree to call Thomas "she" when Thomas agrees not to steal medals from women like Emma Weyant.

Not before.

Deal?

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Treating people with whom we disagree with respect is important for civil discourse. Lia Thomas is not your enemy or Emma Weyant's enemy, for that matter.

Moreover, why are you blaming the athlete instead of the swimming organization that sets the rules of competition? I don't understand why we don't have a "non-binary" category for competition. Athletes in individual sports can compete alongside whatever gender team they feel most comfortable, but be judged in a separate category. The trickier part comes when we talk about team sports & biological advantages, though perhaps that problem can be solved with a competitive category for "mixed gender" like Tennis' mixed doubles, etc.

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1) Thomas is absolutely my enemy. Thomas wants to transform society in a way that I believe is hugely bad for the vast majority, especially women. As for Weyant, Thomas denied her what would and should have been a tremendous personal achievement, a national collegiate championship. Thomas is a man denying women what is rightfully theirs. I have no duty to respect him.

2) I blame the athlete because it is the athlete (and allies) who pressed for this, who insisted on it.

3) We don't have a "non-binary" category because that is totally unacceptable to Thomas and allies. "Trans women are women" is the mantra, you are not allowed to ghettoize them into a separate and unequal category.

Here, by the way, is an official Penn Athletics page on Thomas, who was an undistinguished male athelete before he falsely declared his womanhood and stole the women's championship from Weyant: https://pennathletics.com/sports/mens-swimming-and-diving/roster/will-thomas/14590

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Who would choose to compete in the non-binary category? No one.

On the other hand, we have weight categories in boxing, based on physical characteristics to ensure fairness. That is more similar to the sex categories.

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Aug 22, 2022·edited Aug 22, 2022

If kindness is sparing people needless pain, it's not hard to figure out the right policy with regard to how to address transgender people.

I remember being a young boy and, when answering the phone, being assumed to me my mother once or twice. I did not like that. I preferred to be addressed as boy because that's what I identify as. In this case, I faced a rather limited challenge as I was a biological male, and was most always addressed as one; and my voice eventually deepened and this problem vanished entirely.

Now, imagine a much more difficult case. Imagine you earnestly saw yourself as (or wished to be) the opposite biological sex or than you were born as (or a different gender). You make efforts to present yourself to the world as your desired gender. Even if (or perhaps, especially if) you cannot do so convincingly, being called by your non-preferred pronoun is a reminder of your failure. It is clearly unkind to (for no substantive and productive reason) remind people of their failures or shortcomings. So, intentionally (or even merely carelessly) using that pronoun is certainly unkind.

But what about accuracy, honesty, truth, and the facts of the matter? As the author argues, none of these are precluded by (sometimes) using the trans-inclusive rather than biological meaning of the sex terms and pronouns. Your doctor ought to ascertain and think of you according to your biological characteristics when giving medical advice. Perhaps the NCAA (etc.) should when determining whom you can compete with and against. Perhaps womens' shelters and bathrooms and dating-services should too. Perhaps parents or friends should remind the transgender people in their life of their biological condition if they seem to have lost track of their biological characteristics in a way that would ill-serve them (likely, extremely rarely). It is not dishonest or inaccurate to (ever) use trans-inclusive terms.

I'll grant that we should not, out of "kindness" forget biological realities, especially when they are pertinent to the welfare of the person we're offering kindness to. However, there is no such necessity, as the author points out. The kindness of (often) using preferred pronouns or terminology in no way precludes sometimes using biological ones. There is a wide path consistent with both the person's welfare (truth/facts/honesty) and kindness to them (treating them how they want to be treated).

When I hand you a piece of paper, placing it into your hand; or when I join your work-crew (as another hand)--there is no dishonesty required...just that "hand" means three (related, but distinct) things. It's very linguistically naive to argue that using one meaning of a word on one occasion is "inaccurate" or precludes using a second meaning on another occasion. None of us spends a single day of our lives entirely avoiding polysemy; and it is so innocuous that we barely ever even notice this fact.

That some (on the left) insist on only using the trans-inclusive definition, does not make (often conservatives) insisting on only using the biological definition correct. (Or vice-versa.) The author has pointed out why.

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Jun 22, 2022·edited Jun 22, 2022

If a person who is a “trans-woman” really is not a “woman” but we agree to call them a woman for the sake of comity, where does such foolish thinking ever stop?

Isn’t that the kind of wrong-headed thinking that got society to this breaking point in the first place?

And, if it’s to be really resolved in the political realm, why does society have to accommodate one tiny group’s demand to change language? What’s the benefit to society? We have a perfectly good word for women and it doesn’t include men trying to say that they’re really women.

Let’s be real — the reason all of this is being pushed is so that proponents of such thinking can say all societal institutions are nothing more than social constructs. They don’t reflect or serve to support any ultimate, immutable truth about humans or their innate nature.

Man is god…

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I appreciate the attempt to do the impossible here, and this issue has to be resolved somehow, but I don’t think the current brand of trans activist will go for it as it denies their central fiction. I’m a biological woman, married to a trans woman who agrees with me that it is impossible to change sex, and fully understands and admits that they are male, but that acceptance hurts them deeply and it’s this pain in the face of reality that causes the problem. It’s far easier to claim someone else is a bigot than to accept your own internal dysfunction. We are being asked to deny reality because not doing so hurts feelings - I recognise this situation from my own marriage, and it’s very uncomfortable - however this is wholly unacceptable and unsustainable in law, reality and society generally and we must resist it absolutely. How to do so in a way that is kind and inclusive, without pandering to the lie, is a huge challenge; I applaud you for trying.

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A biologist would find that the male/female percentage is even higher than 99.98%. Most of the 0.02% is clearly male or female with a DSD (Disorder of Sexual Development). For example, Caster Semenya was/is clearly male (with XY chromosomes), but 5-ARD (which made him look female at birth). Do very rare exceptions exist? Sure they do. CAIS persons are XY males, but Completely Androgen InSensitive (CAIS). They look like ordinary women and think like women. They can never have children and some do suffer from physical abnormalities. Very rarely a baby is born with different sex chromosomes in different cells. This is called sex chromosome mosaicism.

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The use of rare genetical abnormalities to argue against the existence of the sex binary is bizarre.

It is like arguing that because some people are born without fingers, 2 feet or 2 hands, you can't describe "humans" as having two feet and two hands, or hands with 4 digits and an opposable thumb...

Those are birth defects, so, by definition, abnormal, i.e., not normal. There is such a thing as "normal", but the objective of gender activists is to "normalize" and "center" the "marginal", i.e. deliberately erase and confuse the distinction between those.

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And of course the overwhelming majority of people who declare themselves to be "trans" or "nonbinary" do NOT have these genetic abnormalities in the first place.

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I don't understand. The Constitution protects minority populations against discrimination by the majority. This is not a constitutional issue but you can apply a similar method around cultural disputes. In this case the minority is attacking the majority usage of language and scientific thought.

Regardless of the demands of activists, the majority has absolutely no moral, political or social duty to adopt the language and definitions of a small minority. If the transman or trans woman fills out a form or legal document, he can check off whichever sex he wants to. But changing a language or scientific term is rather self indulgent, not necessary and is causing rancor that's outside the limits of its importance.

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It is in fact the checking off "whichever sex he wants to", and having that have legal force, that is the fundamental problem. The male swimmer Thomas checked "female", and got a prize. That's wrong.

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In spite of surgeries, hormones, and redefined words, one cannot change one's chromosomes, and therefore will always be what one became at conception.

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Sorry. You can’t change biology.

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But you can!

"In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it."

This is what is happening right now.

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founding
Jun 22, 2022Liked by Matt Lutz

A reasonable approach. Seeking ultimate precision in the definition of individual words simply results in cumbersome and easily parodied phrases.

This is a complex area and needs words that are easy to use in general discussions. When necessary the details can be added.

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This was a helpful post. I am a bit lost in the debates and the seeming hysteria (also a linguistically-misogynist word, btw) on all sides around what constitutes transgender-inclusivity. Biological sex vs. Gender are two separate concepts that we have generally conflated to the detriment of all people. This post resonated with me because of how uncomfortable I am now that my coerced use of conventional terminology to describe myself makes me feel like I have somehow subscribed to patriarchal norms around gender. I present as female and people treat me as such. Having to tell people my pronouns feels like I am now making a political statement that I somehow enjoy being treated as lesser. If medical technology would permit, wouldn't everyone want to turn their outward appearance into that of a white, middle-aged man? How does my acceptance of my biological physiology transform my choice of pronouns into a political statement that I'm happy to be treated as a second-class person?

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Obviously not, as so many men desperately want to be women. And I don't think most women wish they were middle-aged white men. I don't.

I "present as female" because I am, and it is a lot easier to just do what comes naturally, than try to present as what you are not, as those who do know well. You really have tp be motivated to do that, and few do it well.

I also like to look attractive, and I believe both sexes look most attractive when they dress in ways appropriate to their sex, because that is what suits their bodies best. While some degree of androgyny can be attractive, cross-dressing never makes a person look attractive, imo, except maybe to other people with gender issues.

BTW, my sense is that we have seen an explosion of male to female trans people in the last few decades because the status of women has increased so dramatically in society.

The 20th century has seen women attain not only economic independence from men, but with the advent of Hollywood, the movies and television, the sexual revolution, etc., the figure of the sexy, glamourous, independent woman, the actress, model, the businesswoman, the social influencer, etc., who has both sexual and emotional power over men. is now the dominant one.

Males having a strong drive for power and status, many are now envious of what they see as women's "superiority" and power over them in that regard.

The incel phenomenon is another indication of this. Resentment at what they see as the superior power of sexual attraction of women.

Note it is the beautiful, glamourous, sexy, well-off woman who is the object of envy and emulation, both from drag queens and trans women, not the  average middle-aged woman.

They imagine themselves benefiting from that same sexual power, many as "lesbians", which they did not have as men, then get furious when they realize they don't.

Of course there are individual psychological factors that make some men more vulnerable to this, but I am suggesting the sociological factor plays a large role, too.

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I agree with many of your points: 1. It is easier in society to "go with the flow" and follow the conventional norms. 2. More birth males may be finding it more acceptable to consider a gender switch because it is MUCH better for women in the USA now than it was in 1977. Feminists have effected social change, although we're living through a tough backlash right now.

I don't think incels resent women -- they believe they are entitled to sex (generally from women with whom having sex confers greater status on the man who has sex with her) and view women as subservient demi-persons.

I don't think men look at women as having superior power or status -- I think men have a sense that they are losing out. And in some sense, they are losing. People are happier with relative superiority -- there's a few studies out there that show that poor people with more $$ than their neighbors/friends report greater happiness than rich people with less $$ than their friends/neighbors. Status matters -- and status is relative. It really sucks for someone when you chip away at their relative status, which is what has been happening to whites & men on paper, much more slowly in reality.

Imagine you were 13 years old and your peers talk about gender as if it is a choice. You see how girls/women behave and are treated. You see how boys/men behave and are treated. You are perhaps not as "girly" or "manly" as the stereotype; perhaps you are even terrified by how the world treats "girly" girls or find the behavior of "manly" men repulsive. You might also determine that you are not ready to live out your life in the gender to which you were assigned. We are telling people that gender is a choice, it's fluid, and their "choice" to be male/female means they ascribe to certain social conventions. That's tough. I'd be hard-pressed to choose anything except "they/their" and "non-binary."

Now imagine that you are not yet you, with kids, job, friends, family. You can decide what gender, race, etc. you want to have. Why wouldn't you choose the most advantages that you can have? Why wouldn't you want to be a middle-aged white man? I think that was my original, inartfully-expressed point.

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Sorry, I have to respectfully disagree.

1. "It is easier in society to "go with the flow" and follow the conventional norms."

No, that is NOT my point.

My point is that it is easier to "present" as what you are, than as what you are not, which is why trans people are so obsessed with "passing". It is a lot of work. 

Girly", "effeminate" boys or men, and "masculine", "butch", "tomboy" girls or women,  appear just that, not as the other sex.

Even after lots and lots of surgery and hormones, they still need to spend a lot of time studying how to how to walk, talk, move, dress, act like the other sex. Their voice, mannerisms, body movements, give them away as much as their body structure.

Few manage to pass convincingly. Convincing male or female impersonators can make a career out of it, just like actors, but it requires similar skills and practice. Not everyone can.

" Imagine you were 13 years old and your peers talk about gender as if it is a choice."

How is something that requires surgery, a lifetime of hormones,  all that effort,  and unlikely to be successful, "a choice"? Kids are being misled.

2. "Why wouldn't you choose the most advantages that you can have? Why wouldn't you want to be a middle-aged white man?"

Again, the facts demonstrate the reverse. There is no rash of white middle-aged women wanting to become white middle-aged men, but there is of middle-aged and older white men wanting to become middle-aged or older white women.

Because men envy women a lot more than you think, and women envy men a lot less, and that can create resentment, or a desire to BECOME one themselves. I think you are projecting.

3. " I don't think incels resent women -- they believe they are entitled to sex (generally from women with whom having sex confers greater status on the man who has sex with her) and view women as subservient demi-persons. I don't think men look at women as having superior power or status -- I think men have a sense that they are losing out."

Again, I don't think the facts bear this out.

Incels DO have a point.

Because most men have a much stronger sex drive than women, for many it FEELS like a bodily NEED, just like air, food or water, not just a WANT. We women have a hard time understanding that, because most of us do not feel that strong a drive.

Leftists agree that having one's basic bodily and material  needs  met is a human right, but draw the line, with good reason, at sex, because no one dies from a lack of sex, and that would imply women have an obligation to meet it, and that is unacceptable. But the feeling of having an unmet bodily need remains.

A society in which marriage is almost universal assures that need is almost universally met, (as well as the more general human need/desire for connection, community, love and emotional security, family and children, etc.) , but that is no longer the case in  modern societies.

That leaves the "losers" feeling society is unfair and does not care about them, and they are right.

Life is unfair.

4." You see how girls/women behave and are treated. You see how boys/men behave and are treated."

Both are  treated well in some ways, and less well in others. Girls and women today are treated better than boys and men in many ways. 

Boys have been told for decades now that they are monsters suffering from "testosterone poisoning" and girls have been prioritized in too many ways to list here.

This is where class and looks matter. You and many feminists have this image of "white middle-aged men" as privileged because you imagine a good-looking, successful, well-off or at least securely middle-class man with status. Many girls get this idea.

But most men are none of those, and have a hard time attracting women. They are lucky to find one partner. The worst off feel like  "losers", while they see even the least attractive woman as being able to have sex at will.This creates resentment.

The females flocking to become men today are teenage girls, and that is a whole other dynamic. Because males and females ARE different.

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Jun 24, 2022·edited Jun 24, 2022

ctnd -

"How is something that requires surgery, a lifetime of hormones, all that effort, and unlikely to be successful, "a choice"?"

That is why activists are so intent on FORCING society to validate their self concept, to use the "right" pronoun, etc., because they so rarely manage to "pass" convincingly.

I say if they can "pass", good for them, people will call them "she" instinctively , otherwise, they are forcing people to act against the gut instinct that tells them this is NOT a "she", and that is what people are reacting against.

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Jun 24, 2022·edited Jun 24, 2022

Sorry -- perhaps we crossed threads -- see above. I'm not sure what aspects of my comments I'd stand by if we are exclusively talking about people who are seeking medical treatment to change their gender. I haven't read enough research/articles on this smaller subset & don't have any personal experience to go by. I think this subset is vastly outnumbered by the people seeking to "pass" without medical treatment. Curious if you know.

It really isn't that hard to present as male or female. Hairstyle and clothing go a long way. The addition of "non-binary" to the mix with they/them has made this much harder though.

I don't really care what other people do with their bodies & don't feel particularly harmed if someone wants me to call them Ms./Mr./Etc. What I resent is the idea that inclusiveness & openness to other people's identity means that I have to tell everyone who I am. I don't like society's assumptions around gender (male and female) and feel a tremendous discomfort when I'm asked to add my pronouns after my name in a zoom call.

I think we agree on a lot of this. There was an interesting article (New York Magazine - "They, Then and Now: Asking for Pronouns Has Become a Social Standard) written by a transgender woman about how uncomfortable they were with this coerced "inclusiveness" of tell me your pronouns and the whole virtue-signaling element around it. It's interesting to see how oppressed we all feel by the language police. And people are SO quick to use this as a cudgel to beat you into submission.

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Jun 24, 2022·edited Jun 24, 2022

I also feel that demanding to know my "pronouns" is problematic.

What are you asking for? How I "identify"? If "identify" is a feeling, then no, I do not FEEL like a woman, any more than I "feel" like a brown-eyed person rather than a blue-eyed or green-eyed one. I just RECOGNIZE that I am one by looking at myself!

I guess I "FEEL" non-binary, because in many ways I am not "gender conforming", but I do not "identify" as such, because I recognize I am not, and I naturally look, speak, move, dress like the woman I am.

Are you asking how I want to be treated? Then I want to be treated the way I normally am.

Demanding the 99.9% of people who are "cis" to self-identify as such to placate the 0.01% of people who are not, is not reasonable, and intrusive. How I FEEL about my sex is none of your business!

If someone goes to the extreme trouble of actually being able to pass as the other sex, great, I'll treat them accordingly because it will come naturally. Otherwise, that is an unreasonable demand.

And I guess we disagree on how hard it is to pass, particularly without surgery and hormones, but I have rarely seen someone who claims to be trans or "non-binary" who actually does.

One can signal how one WANTS to be identified, but actually fooling people is difficult.

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ctnd -

ctnd -

And passing is difficult because we humans as social animals are evolutionarily acutely attuned to the subtleties of others' social and sexual identities, because those are crucial to our own survival and reproductive interests.

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I have seen the increase in trans and non-binary primarily among younger people. I'm curious where you see a dramatic increase in middle-aged men deciding to become women.

Also, perhaps we have different understandings of trans. I had understood this term to encompass both people who actually attempt biological changes requiring medical intervention, as well as people who use clothing/names/presentation to modify their gender. I think there are far more people going the later route than the former, but I could be wrong.

Boys and men suffer from the patriarchy. I agree 100%. Most men (and women) suffer tremendously from socio-economic limitations.

If we are going back to my thought-experiment, I think we'd all opt to be rich over being born a gender/race/attractiveness. For lots of people, the challenges that stem from their race/gender are not the hardest parts of their lives. For instance, for many women, the sexual harassment they may experience in their jobs is far from the worst thing about their lives. I can understand why a woman might prioritize her husband getting a raise over her boss getting fired for patting her a$$.

I think I understand your point about men attracting women & feeling like losers if they fail to do so. I see it as a status thing as opposed to a sex thing (I deserve a hot girl in my bed, and girls are supposed to do what I say). I'm not sure their perception that "ugly" women can have sex if they want it is accurate, but maybe. Personally, I can't comprehend why people want casual sex so badly in the first place, so this lived pain is quite difficult for me to empathize with.

I don't know if you agree with my take on why teenage girls are (in increasing numbers) identifying a non-binary or male. It may be that you are limiting your perspective to those individuals seeking medical treatment to effect changes, which I believe to be a tiny fraction of the overall social shift in gender identification among youth.

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Jun 24, 2022·edited Jun 24, 2022

Among young people there is a sudden dramatic surge in young girls wanting to become males, which is another issue, but the aggressive gender activists who demand "validation" by society are overwhelmingly MTF, and there has been a huge increase in MTF middle aged trans as well, it used to be rather rare. Of course they all are still a tiny proportion of the population anyway.

With the increasingly strident demands of activists we now see the demand that trans people get their identity validated by society even without going through surgery and hormones, i.e. no need to actually become physically the sex they claim to want to be, which is another level of demand entirely. No need to even try to look the part physically, "just treat me like a woman, and my penis like a vagina", even demanding lesbians have sex with them as women, or they are being bigoted, TERFS, etc.!

A lot of the rhetoric justifying trans demands is just that, using whatever they think will work. The standard trope was that they were born in the wrong body, hated their bodies, had body dysmorphia, etc., but obviously that is not the case if they no longer want to physically transition, just socially and sexually (into "lesbians").

I think that indicates the movement is now social more than psychological, from a small original core of people who genuinely suffered from body dysmorphia, to a larger social movement with no such issues.

I believe what we are seeing is social contagion, particularly among young girls who are more prone to this, but the phenomena is different in girls and males.

Young people are now getting the message that being hetero and cis is not as cool as being gay and trans. The latter gets you a community right away, for one thing, very attractive to young people, particularly the more artistically inclined.

And the prevalence of hard-core porn must be extremely dismaying to young girls approaching puberty.

We'll have to agree to disagree about whether men feeling like losers for being unable to attract women is about sex or status, but then they are closely related, in men and women.

But I am glad you are starting to consider that as a woman, you have trouble understanding how males feel sex is a need, but just think about how much trouble men get into because of their trouble controlling that impulse.

Controlling their drives to aggression, violence and sex are the main challenges young men face, some are luckier than others in growing up in environments that teach them to do so rather than indulging them, and I don't mean lecturing them about it, it is more complicated than that.

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Jun 24, 2022·edited Jun 24, 2022

Agree with self-control and respect for others being critical skills people need to learn & with the influx of testosterone at puberty, it becomes A LOT harder for teenage boys to learn these skills.

Yeah, there is probably some social cachet around being "different" and a promise of an affirming community that drives some teens to re-identify their gender. However, I think this is less about social contagion than you believe. There is an implicit view now that if you continue to identify as your birth-determined biological sex, you are okay being treated the way society treats men & women -- BECAUSE gender is being put in your face all the time when people ask you about pronouns, etc. Every time you are forced to say (he/him), you are forced to think about what that means. If you are a teen who is not a traditionally macho guy, you might feel bad about yourself. And if you know people who are welcomed into a different world after becoming they/she, maybe you decide that would be better. Especially if you are a "late-bloomer" or don't experience attraction towards the opposite sex. Social constructs around gender are problematic. Teens who want to oppose those constructs may feel compelled to switch genders or become non-binary if they want to demonstrate their opposition to social conventions.

When a girl presents as feminine & then is objectified, in the '00s, it was considered wrong. Now, people may believe that she really is getting what she deserved, because she should have presented as they/them if she didn't want to be treated that way. Because she does have an off-ramp from objectification -- the abdication of gender.

I don't think my problem understanding the urge for casual sex is because of my gender, but because I simply don't find people attractive. Most women would probably understand the yearning for sex with a hot girl/boy. And there is tremendous status afforded when you walk in with some arm candy.

I think the prevalence of porn is bad for boys and girls, who look at it not solely as a source of titilation, but as education. They think watching porn will teach them how to have good sex/be a good lover.

I'm not on board with how you are talking about sexual orientation, but I could be misunderstanding your meaning. Most gay/lesbian/bi folks don't chose to switch genders. They are simply attracted to people of their same gender/both genders. That is how you are born, and that preference cannot be altered with therapy/medical treatment/etc. I think it's absurd to worry about who people are/aren't attracted to.

Anyone who thinks people are obligated to give them sex are misguided. No one is entitled to the use of another's body. IMO, this is morally wrong, irrespective of whether the person expecting/demanding/feeling entitled to sexual favors is male or female.

I think the strident demands of which you speak are coming not from actual transgender people, but from individuals who are seeking to climb the social latter by performative wokeness -- from people trying to claim the moral high ground and putting others down as insufficiently inclusive. It's a form of status-seeking and hierarchical behavior. Maybe MTF are being more aggressive in this way -- it fits the stereotype. I don't know. I have not seen this myself & in my youth, this kind of aggression was not my experience.

I don't meet many transgender individuals anymore (my son informed me that cross-dressing was a derogative term, and I don't mean to be derogatory & don't know a better term. I knew men who dressed as women & we called them by female pronouns), but from anecdotal experience, I understand that the anger/attitude is coming from so-called "allies" in these spaces. Call-out culture is an abomination because it has been so terribly abused by status-seeking jerks.

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