Transgenderism

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From Alan Jacobs: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/jacobs/thinking-about-transgenderism/

Excerpts:

We will eventually see the Supreme Court rule whether the Constitution allows separate public restrooms for men and women. The arguments against such “separate but equal” provisions will mimic, as that phrase suggests, the case against school segregation in the Civil Rights era, though perhaps the more central arguments will be based on the claim that we have an inalienable right to self-definition. Because at bottom that’s what all these fights are about: not sex or gender, but about whether society is morally and legally obliged to defer to each individual’s self-understanding, and to do everything possible to enable each person to achieve a public identity that matches that internal one.

The existence of separate but equal public restrooms is an intolerable imposition on this right to self-definition, this right to live out to the fullest my own sense of self, however fluid that sense may be — so the argument before the Court will go. And I further predict that SCOTUS will accept that argument and order the elimination of men’s and women’s public restrooms.

The media will rejoice at this great victory for human flourishing — and perhaps most Americans will join them. After all, it will be an excellent excuse to forget about poverty, war, infrastructure collapse, porn addiction, universal governmental surveillance, and all the other problems we don’t have the first idea how to approach, must less to solve.

When will this court case happen? I’m setting the over/under at nine years.

Coalage1
Joined:
Mar. 14, 2012 8:11 am

Comments

This Alan Jacobs character suggests that this issue is frivolous relative to the big picture and I always find that particular criticism to be, at best, self serving (not to mention among the most simplistic of arguments to concoct for a debate). Serious matters that need to be addressed by the community at large never happen just one at a time and we already know from historical precedence that humans possess the ability to multi-task. Trans rights are only just another extension of human rights and the civil rights we are supposed all to be guaranteed by the Constitution. It is not as though progressives are crossing the Rubicon in defense of some hedonistic gang of sexually perverted wastrels as the clueless author of the above tripe implies but -- by addressing this issue for our fellow humans who are our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, co-workers and friends -- they are only just doing what their stated values oblige them to do which is to defend the most vulnerable among us.

And just to remind the jerk who wrote the above of something which apparently slipped his cold, unempathetic mind: trans individuals also face all those other human emergencies and foibles that he crafted into a list above and they face them while constantly being dumped on by intolerant and abusive creeps like him.

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mdhess
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Apr. 9, 2010 11:43 pm

As a follow-up: having read his overly oversimplistic, overly moralistic and overly uninformed piece it's disappointing to discover that Alan Jacobs is a "Distinguished Professor of the Humanities." Distinguished for what pray tell? Mediocre attempts to quantify his religiously driven intolerance and common bigotry?

mdhess's picture
mdhess
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Apr. 9, 2010 11:43 pm

Mdhess, Coalage may not have seen our previous discussion on this subject, a discussion that got pretty damn heated at certain points. I’m not sure we’ve made much progress— hope so, ‘cause you know that I like and respect you, as well as agree with you on practically every issue there is, with this issue as the rare exception.

Here’s where we agree on this issue, I do believe: transgender people deserve the same right to be treated with dignity and respect as the rest of us do. To my mind, the only appropriate response to the bullying, cruelty and outright violence directed at trans folks would be to be shocked and horrified. I certainly can’t imagine myself, for one, engaging with a trans woman or man with anything but care and respect.

Coalage has presented an opinion by a conservative Christian. So, that’s one perspective, one from the right-wing of the ideological spectrum. (I agree with mdhess's take on it.)

I’m wondering if Coalage is aware of another perspective, one from the Left that does not entirely conform to the politically correct angle taken by many progressives —the current dominant paradigm— another perspective that poses questions about the issue from an anti-neoliberal stance, by taking a look at the political and social implications posed by the transgender movement, given that it has come to the fore during neoliberal times.

For one thing, can a social and political movement, an ideology, arrive entirely independent of indoctrination by the dominant culture? Or will that movement be a reflection of the values and edicts of the dominant culture, even the unhealthier ones? Is the transgenderism of today truly a movement toward liberation, or is it in some ways a natural response to strict cultural rules about gender, rules imposed within a gender-binary social context that does not allow for shades of gender but, rather, demands conformity to the conventional notion that nature’s two biological sexes dictate there only be two genders?

In any case, it seems the focus for everybody has boiled down to the restroom issue. I have changed my opinion on this one lately, in that I now agree that transwomen’s use of women’s restrooms poses no particular threat to women, especially given that the mentality of transwomen most likely fits quite nicely with other women, and given that women’s restrooms have stalls, which provide privacy.

I see that the politically correct opinion now is to advocate for gender-neutral, unisex, public restrooms. I’m not sure about that one. I’m all for it, if we’re talking restrooms limited to one person at a time. However, in the case of public restrooms meant to accommodate many people, I might be okay with that, but only if there aren’t any urinals. Excuse me, but I’m not interested in being present where strange men unzip and then pee, exposing their dicks. Nope. I don’t care if they’re facing a wall— it’s just plain unacceptable. And that’s to say nothing about the actual threat to women posed by heterosexual men— hello, abusive sexuality is a thing. Unisex restrooms of that kind would make women vulnerable to that thing.

In India, the situation is worse. Women have to pay to pee in the few public restrooms provided, while the men can pee for free in urinals. Now they’re seeing a Right to Pee movement.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I advocate for everybody's civil rights because I understand that however any system can abuse one, it can get around to doing to all. Having said that, I side, unabashedly, on this issue with those women who don't want trans men in women's restrooms unless/until those men have had the operation. It's that basic. They may be women in every other way, but THAT'S the most important and decisive way that they're women. Taking the position that they can't go in there until after their operations also proactively precludes any problems with the creeps who would abuse the right to go in by pretending to be trans when they're not and the concomitant behavior attached to that. Trans people should have the right to follow their consciences and be who they are, and should not be discriminated against for personal choices any more than any other citizen is discriminated against for personal choices, BUT they don't have the right to request special accommodations which intimidate others in the course of bringing those choices to fruition and realization.

As to men being uncomfortable with trans men in dresses in men's rooms, I think that's much less of a problem. I really don't care what other men do in there, trans or not, as long as they don't bother me or anybody else. And if women becoming men (a much smaller demographic slice than men becoming women) want to use the stalls in men's rooms, I really don't care. They'd have to use the stalls, if they haven't had conversion surgery, because, obviously, they can't sit down on urinals.

I wonder what Chaz Bono would say about it. It'd be interesting to know.

Before I retired as a union business agent, I got called to an employer who was wrestling with this same dilemna. The employer wanted to give the union a black eye by asking me to side with one of the two parties to the dispute; one was transitioning but hadn't had surgery and the other was a woman who didn't want him in the men's room. The employer cynically wanted the union to umpire the situation so that one of the two (they're both union members) would end up hating the union, no matter how I decided. I wasn't going to let that happen so I simply told the employer that it wasn't a contractual matter for the union and that he'd have to hash it out and make the decision based on input from governmental agencies responsible for enforcing anti-discrimination laws and regulations.

On a lighter note, does anybody know why you should never throw toothpicks in the urinals at Texaco Mini-Marts? Because the crabs in there are so big they can pole vault!

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Ulysses
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I well rememeber our point of contention from that particular debate and what I have seen and heard from the trans community since has only served to further liberalize my position. I will say that, having followed a few trans persons. the very point of contention we had between us pervades even into the trans community and so I have chosen to defer to a position of non-judgmentalism and respect for not only the individual choices people make about their gender, whatever they are, but have respect for those people's capacity to know their own minds relative to what I think about how they ought to express their gender. I concede to your point that we ought to learn to be accepting of gender fluid behavior (actually I believe you suggested that we could do away with notions of gender identity all together so that trans persons could be comfortable with the body they were born into) but I do not concede that such acceptance would or could solve the problem of transgender identity expression.

It may interest you to hear from two trans persons I follow as they literally fall on either side of our previous debate:

Skylar (known on Youtube as Skylarkeleven) (He is endearing particularly for his smile and exuberance)

Jeffrey Marsh (self described socia media star)

My conclusion was (and is for that matter) that individual choices ought to be respected AND we do not have any moral authority to suggest to another person that we know his or her mind better than that person does. And I still insist that it is a fact of nature that men simply behave, and always will behave, differently when around other men than they do when around women and vice versa -- and so to judge someone for desiring to be identified externally the same as they feel inside so as to be accepted into his or her peer group in a way that's comfortable to that person doesn't even make sense to me and, I think, is cruel besides. Those who want to remain fluid between the two realms at least understand that they are, in fact, two different realms and they are making a choice to remain attached to and yet distinct from each.

I have come to believe that people can be comfortable with their gender only by the way they choose to treat it themselves and there is really no wrong or right answer as long as it doesn't harm other people. I now understand that there is even another population within the population of people who suffer gender dysphoria (known commonly as the "trans" or "transgender" commiunity) who identify not as someone opposite the sex they were born into but rather as "gender-fluid" meaning that they prefer remaining able to transiton between a male and a female persona. The fact that they identify as distinct from being transgender by having adopted "transfluid" as a way to specify a difference from what transgender generally is understood to mean is an indication that they understand that their own choice of gender expression as "fluid" is a personal choice to be made -- whether or not they understand that the same applies to transexuals (those who choose to physically alter their body). I will add that, as far as adopting a "transfluid" identity is concerned, I can't imagine that too many people have the constitution to be continually transitioning back and forth between genders (or between innate personas that switch alternately between identitying with one's visible birth sex characteristics or with one's inner compulsion to be opposite that if you prefer) in a kind of bi-polar form of gender expression that is apparent in the videos posted on Jeffrey Marsh's website referenced above.

Nice to hear from you Zenzoe. Hope that didn't sound like I was picking a fight because I find no reason to quarrel with what you had to say above.

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mdhess
Joined:
Apr. 9, 2010 11:43 pm

Quote mdhess:

...Nice to hear from you Zenzoe. Hope that didn't sound like I was picking a fight because I find no reason to quarrel with what you had to say above.

Thanks, mdhess. I’m not in a mood for a fight either, and I do believe it’s entirely possible to communicate on this issue without being hostile about it.

I also believe it’s possible to accept, as Ulysses does as well, above, and be non-judgmental toward trans folks of whatever variety, while also considering the social and political influences and implications which might have some bearing on their sense of themselves. I don’t think it’s disrespectful to recognize how, for example, the prevalence of images of binary extremes of masculinity and femininity in the media and in the world of small children could create extremes of gender dysphoria in children.

How impossible to identify with the “girly,” pink imperative presented in the girls’ section at Toys-R-Us might it be, for a rough-&-tumble girl who identifies more with the toys in the boys’ section? How unreasonable would it be, therefore, for her to begin to feel she’s really a boy in a girl’s body? Not unreasonable at all. Children are logical in that way.

But to my mind, cultural imperatives that result in the denial of the biological body is a veritable tragedy, a loss of an aspect of the Self. I do not blame the victim, however; I blame the culture that imposes such lies on its population.

I remind you here of the story of this trans person, a witness who validates the point I’m making.

If I may quote my own comments from the Gender: Today’s Taboo against Being Who You Are:

“Jonah’s message powerfully represents a valid critique of the transsexual choice —’sex changes’— from, as I see it, a compassionate, progressive viewpoint. While she acknowledges gender dysphoria in others as well as in herself, she ultimately comes to the conclusion, after having used testosterone and passing as male, that in so doing, she had denied a significant part of herself, her female body, ‘erasing’ the truth of who she is. Now, going forward, in recognition of herself as merely ‘different,’ as a ‘hybrid,’ she stands strong, stopping the testosterone injections, and defying the concept of gender binarism, the socially-imposed imperative that one’s body and one’s brain must have biological sex-to-gender alignment. She refers to that imperative as a ‘black and white’ world, which is not about race, but about the tyranny of gender stereotyping.

She also touches on the folly of ‘striving so hard to gain something that was impossible.’ She denied the possibility of true sex change: ‘It is tempting to believe that I am fully male, that I am testosterone, that I am muscle mass, that I am stubble, because “this” [brain] has always told me that I am. But you know what? I am inside a female vessel, and no matter how I shape it, no matter how I inject it, and no matter how I cut it, that’s not going to change. I cannot undo birth.’ And that’s such a brave thing to say, given the pressures to conform to the current common wisdom surrounding the subject.”

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I'm sorry but I have to agree to disagree with you yet again. I do not accept the notion that gender dysphoria is a social disorder. What you suppose above would seem reasonable except that it does not comport with the actual testimonials of people who are trans. It is an insidious presupposition, just as supposing that Africans were better off as slaves than as animal like barbarians in the wilds of Africa was an insidious presupposition, because it is a conveniently exculpatory explanation that soothes the consciences of those complicit in the mistreatment of a population only because it is dissimilar to their own. I think it is inexcusable.

And, I admit, I grow weary of the exceptions to the rule -- examples of people suffering from trans regret -- that you continue to trot out for display, always with the reinforcement of some pseudoscientist, even though your case studies are not representative of the population on whole by any stretch. There have been plenty of gay persons who claimed to be cured of their "homosexual tendencies" through gay reparative therapy too who never reaally overcame their nature but had only been brow beaten until they became deceptive about it (In many cases the people offering the reparative therapy, often self professed "ex gays," were only using their "clinics" to lure in other homosexuals so as to seduce them). There were and still are many proponents of the theory that gay people are just the poor, unfortunate victims of some sort of trauma or other psychologically damaging event or circumstance and that if only we knew what it was then society could fully solve the dilemna of why some behave queerly.

I believe you are guilty of facilitating the same sort of insidious and false promise regarding fixing people in the trans community by suggesting that there is some sort of divinity at play (in this case you suggest it is the sanctity of the body) that ought to influence the decision trans people make about how much or little to alter their bodies in pursuit of the same kind of affinity with their gender identity (sex characteristics) that the rest of us take for granted. My first thought regarding your attitude is to point out that all of us choose how we make our body appear and to wildly varying degrees. I think using hormones or elective surgery in the pursuit of self fulfillment is far less troubling or exploitive than using those same methods in the pursuit of vanity as per usual. Frankly I find it troubling when I see a trans man (or any person) with tatoos but not at all troubling to know that a trans man has undergone breast reduction surgery so that his breasts are no longer a source of trauma for him. When I see that the transexual people I follow are happy and exuberant at being able to experience being who they are, who they feared they never could or would be regardless of how deeply their psyche craved it, and see them literally bloom into being a whole person in front of me -- as documented on social media -- I have a difficult time taking your argument seriously.

And, finally, allow me to point out to you that over the course of our long debate you haven't seemed to be able to decide between defending the sanctity of womanhood (now stated as having respect for one's body by not altering one's genitalia) or condemning gender expression altogether which makes your defense of womanhood an absurdity. So I suggest that you are beyond your depth, just as I admit that I am, in knowing and understanding transgenderism. Imposing a definition of what it means to be transgender on trans persons is beyond what I am willing to consider as either a democratic or a reasonable proposition. And dismissing the trangender community as only the unfortunate byproduct of a misogynistic culture is reprehensible to me and, I feel, unworthy of my consideration as I find it to be a depraved insult to the integrity of the trans community.

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mdhess
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Apr. 9, 2010 11:43 pm

My view is this may be a case of adaptive evolution going on right before our own eyes. There is nothing natural about having two sexes, many species have one, two, three or more sexes. It is strictly a case of survival advantage. Humans are no longer living as hunter-gatherers in the small bands that we evolved in over 99% of our evolution. Now we live more like hive animals, like ants or bees. So it may be evolution is driving our species to a different sexual architecture, that may involve several different sexes.

If you put a culture of bacteria in a vat, and you add a toxin, the bacteria will mutate to become resistant to the toxin at a rate that is well above random. That is called adaptive mutation and understanding that involves some knowledge of quantum mechanics and the illusion of past-present-future. So in that context, it could be evolution is directing the human genome to a new social structure that will make a species that is much more likely to survive.

Instant-RunOff-...
Joined:
Jun. 17, 2015 12:41 pm

Sorry to have touched those sore spots, mdhess. I wish I knew how to express my opinion, so that you would not take offense to it and know that it isn’t an attack, but, rather, an observation. All I can do is try. I do want to be open to all possibilities, such as the one Instant-runOff suggested, but I also need to be true to my honest view.

Anyway, moving on, just to step back for a moment to an earlier point you made:

Quote mdhess:

...And I still insist that it is a fact of nature that men simply behave, and always will behave, differently when around other men than they do when around women and vice versa -- and so to judge someone for desiring to be identified externally the same as they feel inside so as to be accepted into his or her peer group in a way that's comfortable to that person doesn't even make sense to me and, I think, is cruel besides. Those who want to remain fluid between the two realms at least understand that they are, in fact, two different realms and they are making a choice to remain attached to and yet distinct from each...

Let me be clear: I have no desire to dictate to individuals how they should express their gender identity. How others choose to appear or express themselves within their preferred “peer group,” or anywhere else for that matter, is none of my business. I do not, as you suggested in your last comments, deny the reality of gender dysphoria, nor disbelieve the transgendered person’s sense of themselves. It is not my intention to cast doubt on the real feelings of real people.

It is, however, my right to observe. And I refuse to pretend that human behaviors can be said to be wholly a “fact of nature,” always free of cultural influences. Furthermore, that culture influences behavior is a fact with thousands of examples throughout the history of humankind; if this were not true, human beings all across the globe in every epoch would have all looked the same, practiced the same religions, adhered to the same modes of, and rules for, gender and sexual expression, created the same kind of music and art, followed the same kinship rules, enjoyed the same cures for disease, developed the same systems of government, finance and law, and on and on. But such is clearly not the case. Humanity fluidly expresses itself in so many diverse ways, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with all the variations.

Yes, part of human behavior is genetic, but, as anyone can see, from Valley Girl culture, to Mardi Gras culture, to military culture, to Hollywood culture, to fraternity culture, etc., etc., individuals are shaped not only by the dictates of culture and society, but also by their own need to fit in, to conform and be accepted. This is so patently true as to be hardly worth mentioning, and yet I find myself forced to do so.

To say that trans culture, especially transsexualism, has arisen IN PART as an adjustment to the binary gender dictates of our Western culture IS NOT TO CONDEMN IT AS A “SOCIAL DISORDER.” Quite the contrary— if anything, the transsexual, however honestly more comfortable he or she may be in his or her new skin, so to speak, has changed himself or herself in accordance with Western rules of masculinity and femininity; their change satisfies the rules put forth by Western culture about masculinity and femininity, as to the kind of gender expression is acceptable and what is not, and so, therefore, it is no “disorder” at all— it is quite in order.

The cruelty is in the culture that rejects the natural, biologically-shaped masculine girl and feminine boy. The pain is in being rejected for being different, that is, for not conforming to the rules of gender expression imposed by Western culture.

A new girl, a biological female, walks into a classroom for the first time. She’s a girl, but her hair is cropped short like a boy’s, her face without makeup; she’s wearing a boy’s shirt and pants, and her movements suggest a masculinity that is unusual for a girl. If this school is in a typical American town, how long do you think it will be, before the other kids start taunting her, sending her the message that she’s not okay. Why is she not okay? She has broken Western culture’s rules of girly femininity.

Consider the same scenario for a feminine boy— how long before he gets the message that he’s no okay as is. He too has broken the rules of masculinity.

“Androgyny will not be allowed. Choose—male or female, and make your choice definite.” That’s culture’s rule.

Or consider the case of men who may be outwardly masculine, and yet who simply feel inwardly drawn to feminine clothes, feminine ways of being, and feel oppressed for society’s taboo against males expressing their feminine aspects. Are they actually women in men’s bodies? Or are they simply men being whole persons? Society tells them it’s the latter, not the former.

It’s the rules that are wrong, mdhess, not those human beings who become “dysphoric.” But my observation is that the conclusion they come to, with unconscious elements perhaps, becomes that they’ll feel better if their body’s gender expression fully matches their inner sense of themselves, and that is unconsciously driven by the need to alleviate the tension and pain caused by not fitting the “norm.”

The sad, ironic thing is, they are damned if they do change their outer selves, bodies and appearance, to match their “inner sense of themselves” (with agreement from Western culture), and damned if they don’t. They meet rejection either way.

Now for your specific complaints:

Quote mdhess:
And, I admit, I grow weary of the exceptions to the rule -- examples of people suffering from trans regret -- that you continue to trot out for display, always with the reinforcement of some pseudoscientist, even though your case studies are not representative of the population on whole by any stretch. There have been plenty of gay persons who claimed to be cured of their "homosexual tendencies" by gay reparative therapy too but in fact those "patients" had never overcome their nature but had only been brow beaten into being deceptive about their behavior (In many cases the people offering the reparative therapy, often self professed "ex gays," were only using their "clinics" to lure in other homosexuals so as to seduce them). There were and still are many proponents of the theory that gay people are just the poor, unfortunate victims of some sort of trauma or other psychologically damaging event or circumstance and that if only we knew what it was then society could fully solve the dilemna of why some behave queerly.

“People suffering from ‘trans regret’?” If you had bothered to listen deeply to that person’s testimony you could never dismiss her according to that LGBT analysis and language. So, the only trans thoughts and feelings worthy of respect and dignity are those of trans persons who observe nothing but positives about their experiences? The only valid psychic cravings are those that turn out to be “happy and exuberant” about the choice to mutilate their bodies and subject them to dangerous hormones? If a trans person decides to accept their body as is, that person has been manipulated and “brow beaten” into submission by bigots; their own, personal feelings had nothing to do with it?

I dare say, your stance represents the more “depraved insult to the integrity” of transgendered persons who are real people, individuals who do not always fit any particular culture’s demands for conformity.

“Trans regret” is the language of a culture/community that is intolerant of anything or anyone seemingly critical of transgenderism, even if it is simply a personal truth. And to compare those personal truths with “gay reparative therapy” and the bigotry that informs that attitude is a false equivalency of the worst and unfairest sort.

I do believe it’s impossible to communicate ideas, when the worldview of one side of the discussion has a taboo against critical thinking of any sort that does not appear to ultimately support that worldview. If you’re deeply embedded in trans culture/community, and you’re feeling the curses of right-wing bigotry, your mind will form to read any contrary observations as coming from right-wing bigotry. It all feels the same. So, you circle the wagons.

I am not the enemy, mdhess.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

When it comes down to it I don't think restrooms are really that big of a practical issue, both mens and womens do have stalls that offer privacy after all. Its not like a woman who identifies as a man is able to use a urinal and womens restrooms do not have urinals. Or should we require urinals be installed to accomodate men who identify as women?

I think the bigger issue is locker rooms. Is it reasonable for a parent to object to a man who identifies as a woman sharing a shower with their 16 year old daughter?

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gumball
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Dec. 12, 2013 11:02 am

First allow me to clear up a misrepresentation you made: I did not say that we must only respect positive aspects of transexualism but rather that we can't disprespect the whole community based on surveying a small minority who have regret. I accept that there's not a lot of daylight between how we feel -- live and let live, more or less -- and yet I think it's unfortunate that you refer to another person's exercise of autonomy over his or her own body as "mutilation." But I give you the benefit of the doubt that you meant no insult. I'm sure you don't condemn people for having moles or tumors removed or for having an apendectomy if necessary so I think your judgmentallsm in that regard must stem from an ignorance of what gender dysphoria entails. If not then I must say instead that I think the condemnation is undeserved, ill-conceived and despicable. But that's just me. I don't condemn men who choose to allow a beer gut to form and hang way out over their belt buckle even though I find it abhorrent and an insult to nature. I don't refer to their choice of body transformation as "mutilation" despite the fact that the pathetic, unhealthy and immoral motivation which creates the grotesque changes is only that they prefer staying buzzed on Budweiser for their own amusement whenever they're at home rather than tending to the needs of their families.

And, yes, I do think there is brow beating going on to disuade people from expressing their true nature the way they want to. Suggesting that having elective surgery is mutilation and that hormones therapy is dangerous is an example of the kind of brow beating I mean. I understand that you believe you are being well intentioned but suggesting to someone that he or she ought to just adopt to switching back and forth between bi-polar personas as a response to other people's confusion over his or her gender for wont of addressing the appearance of his or her sexual characteristics is absurd. It is immoral to condemn a person who has a clear understanding of his or her own gender to a lifetime of pretense only for the comfort of others and especially when a solution to the person's unhappiness may be readily available. I tried to make clear that if someone identifies their own self to me as "gender fluid," meaning that they are most comfortable being able to project either a male or a female persona at will, then I respect their choice just as i respect the choice of those who were born as one sex but identify exclusively as the opposite of that sex. It is not an either/or proposition as transgender and transfluid are different expressions of gender variance and I support the right of the individual to determine his, her or their own nature and what to do about it.

I think public confusion comes when you have yokels with perverted minds, like the North Carolina Republican legislature, confusing otherwise ordinary people (people who are surely more wholesome in their relationship to the community than they are) and conflating them with perverts in dresses who want to molest people's children in bathrooms and then that becomes a national issue. Clearly legislators who keep returning to topics like fetishism, pedophilia and rape have some deep-seated mental health issues around sexuality and its these sexual perverts, unfortunatley, who have the authority to force perfectly innocent people into using the restroom that is actually not appropriate for them at all or for the people they are now being forced to intrude upon. There was nobody at risk that needed saving by the NC legislature but now the trans community is put at risk in order, the legislature claims, to solve a problem which never even did exist. It assumes that trans persons are not and do not want to be discreet and that their motives are suspect and that's the insult. I'm not pointing my finger at you in particula,r even if it may seem so, but just pointing out that certain issues arise only out of ignorance and that even good progressives sometimes fall into the trap of taking those straw man arguments seriously because they just don't know better. For instance, I find the remarks made by both Ullyses and gumball, which you applauded, to be tolerant in tone yet halting and suspicious in nature by their inclusion of concerns that are actually only straw man creations that become real political disputes despite the fact that they are not real in reality. Concern over someone's child being forced into sharing a locker room with a trans child of the opposite physical sex for instance is treated like a real problem to be solved when nobody wants that kind of awkwardness to occur, including the trans child and his or her parents. Nevertheless the argument will persist as though it's some intractable culture war battle that must be decided. And that only benefits conservatives by drumming up an artificial fear about people who actually pose no threat but who are under threat and then turning that invented threat into some supposedly righteous cause to be taken up. It's a sick manipulation of reality for political gain at the expense of a vulnerable population and its no more palatable coming from a liberal than from a conservative.

People who are transgender are being mischaracterized as transvestites with perverted intentions and that those things are sorely and ignorantly confused in the minds of many who nevertheless have strong opinions is what needs to be addressed immediatley. I trust you do not object to that notion.

I completely understand your point about hyper-sexualization and hyper displays of masculinity and femininity and my perspective on that is that, like you, I don't accept that it is a naturally occurring phenomenon. My opinioin in that regard is that the cultural perversions of hyper masculinity and femininity we see so often are particularly successful marketing devices (which are not only presented in fictional portrayals but replicated by people in their actual lives) fostered and used by economies organized around capitalism. Capitalism has always determined the morality of an exchange in terms of its investment worthiness and Americans have been guinea pigs for capital investment from long before the US was formed. Capitalism promotes and legitimizes any succesful ploy if it exploits an opportunity and presenting impossibly developed sexual charateristics and neurotically exaggerated behavior as the typical ideal is a successful ploy to keep people active in many marketplaces. I just don't think that any such perverse social construction has any more or less relevancy to the trans community than any community -- including every one of us who isn't trans.

Finally let me address my remarks about human nature. I do not mean to suggest that nature dictates that men must act a particular way or that women must act a particular way but it does dictate, and it is a fact of nature, that the vast majority of men are sexually attracted to women and vice versa and no social construct has or will alter that basic paradigm so long as it exists in nature. For that reason males often huddle or herd together with males and women do as well with other females, particularly during the bachelor and bachelorette portions of their lives in diverse kinds of social interactions which are chracteristically different in nature. Men address other men differently than they do mates or potential mates and the same is true for women. And, while nature may well be evolving, nature has yet to significantly alter how sexual attraction operates and that factor in the matter can't simply be dismissed because it's a hormonal rather than an intellectual driver of human behavior.

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mdhess
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Apr. 9, 2010 11:43 pm

If and when a documented instance of abuse occurs as I've mentioned, will you acknowledge that the concern is not merely for a "straw man?" Will you consider even one victim of such an abuse to be one too many?

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Ulysses
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The question of whether anybody would want their female children sharing a locker room shower with a trans man who hadn't had the operation is a valid one.

I would not. I would forbid it. If that's offensive, too bad; that's MY choice, and the Constitution guarantees me freedom of association and the right to choose same for minors under my care who are still not mature enough to make wise choices for themselves. That's the way it is. That's all the reason I need. Why? The reason is analogous to when parents and grandparents finally have to answer a kid asking "Why?" all the time with, "Because I am your mom/dad (grandma/grandpa) and I say so, THAT'S why."

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Ulysses
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I’m not feeling all that well today, so please bear with me, as I plod through a response to your comments. I may have to be brief.

Quote mdhess:

First allow me to clear up a misrepresentation you made: I did not say that we must only respect positive aspects of transexualism but rather that we can't disprespect the whole community based on surveying a small minority who have regret.

Who said the whole community should be disrespected based on a supposedly regretful “small minority?” I do believe I’ve been bending over backward to respect transgendered individuals, not only respect but care for them too.

And, btw, that “small minority,” the example of Jonah I presented, did not present as having regret. On the contrary, she presented herself as having achieved a triumph of self-awareness and acceptance. She evolved to finally own an aspect of herself she had foolishly disowned and abandoned; she became whole again, whereas before she had denied the truth about herself.

Quote mdhess:

I accept that there's not a lot of daylight between how we feel -- live and let live, more or less -- and yet I think it's unfortunate that you refer to another person's exercise of autonomy over his or her own body as "mutilation." But I give you the benefit of the doubt that you meant no insult. I'm sure you don't condemn people for having moles or tumors removed or for having an apendectomy if necessary so I think your judgmentallsm in that regard must stem from an ignorance of what gender dysphoria entails. If not then I must say instead that I think the condemnation is undeserved, ill-conceived and despicable. But that's just me.

It’s just you to accuse me of condemning people and to call me “despicable?” Really? Nice. Is it just you to be a bully, mdhess?

I haven’t condemned anybody!

Well, maybe it’s just me, but I think there’s a huge difference between excising a mole, a tumor, or an infected appendix and the surgical removal and alteration of healthy sex organs. Maybe it’s just me, but to my mind the primary and secondary sex organs of most humans are exquisitely designed, beautiful works of evolution, and I will never be able to pretend that the sex-change industry can do a better job of designing and creating them than nature did. And what makes me laugh, is when I think of a MTF transsexual female imagining she’s had a female orgasm during sex after her sex change, even though she has no uterus to enjoy it with. That’s a good one.

And if that opinion plays into the hands of the bigots on the right, too bad. It reminds me of long ago, when we used to get pressured to deny the value of the family, simply because authoritarian sentiment might claim it for its own purposes. That was the same kind of absurd reasoning you’re inflicting on me here, that I can’t doubt the wisdom of sex changes, because it might give a boost to the authoritarians.

Having said that, I would never want to deny the happiness of people who feel they are happier after a sex change. More power to them, I hope.

Gotta stop, for now.

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Ulysses:

If and when a documented instance of abuse occurs as I've mentioned, will you acknowledge that the concern is not merely for a "straw man?" Will you consider even one victim of such an abuse to be one too many?

You clearly have no idea how many acts of violence occur against the transgender community because of inflammatory rhetoric warning against some perceived danger no more likely than any incidental stranger danger. In fact the likelihood that cases of sexual misconduct will be committed by a trans person is probably less than the general public average as transgenderism is not about one's sexuality and being transgender is in no way determinant of who the trans person finds sexually attractive any more than for any of us. The difference between the general public and the transgender community is that trans people probably try to remain more discreet and discretionary about their public appearances than many uncouth non-trans men and women (like men who whistle for instance) who may feel far more comfortable asserting themselves onto others in public spaces. It is bigotry and tyranny over the minority by the majority (in this case a tiny and already vulnerable minority) to perpetuate such nonsense... is all I'm saying

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Apr. 9, 2010 11:43 pm

I don't really mean to upset you. I'd suggest that if you don't enjoy an honest to the bone debate then don't continue just as I wouldn't if I didn't enjoy really chewing on the meat. If I thought that you only wanted to be vindictive in your responses I would not take you seriously just as I no longer take several of our less than enlightened members (some would say trolls) and including some self-professed progressives seriously as they only want to belittle those with another point of view with the responses they give at the expense of the requisite consideration due the various subjects they comment on. I obviously always think that your comments merit due consideration as I always seem compelled to think about my response. Believe it or not, I always choose my words carefully and so respectfully I tell you that I find your characterization of sex reassignment surgeries as "mutilation" a "despicable" characterization. :)

I really just popped in for a bit so I will just say that I think you put much too much emphasis on the sanctity of reproduction. It is not, nor need it be central to a perosn's life. And, just FYI, reproduction of the species is not something that's at risk. It seems to me that you always want to sacralize people's sex organs over the rest of their body. Personally I have a thing about people mutilating their bodies with cringe inducing tatoos. I suspect that you are pro-choice and, if you are, I can't understand any hesitation in accepting that trans people are due the same sort of respect for their self autonomy that women in general enjoy. But even if it is your opinion that transsexual surgery is mutilation then that is your opinion and, whether I think it despicable or not, I have no more moral authority to make the judgment than you so there is no point in us arguing over our particular degrees of comfort with the personal choices that others make.

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Apr. 9, 2010 11:43 pm

Two things, because I don’t really have time right now to respond fully: (1) What did I say that gave you the impression the “sanctity of reproduction” is one of my concerns, or that I think the reproduction of the species is at risk? I don’t remember making any such claims or opinions.

(2) Let me reassure you that I absolutely stand by the right of individuals to alter their bodies any way they like. I no more have hopes for legislation banning sex changes, than I have for legislation banning abortion.

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

This is a typical "Big Deal Issue" brought on by the Republicans to distract its base from the major issues that they are supporting the 1% with. Gay marriage, abortion etc. pay attention to the real issues and not the false meaningless ones.

Legend
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Nov. 27, 2012 7:46 am

Who here believes that men who identify as women should be allowed by law to use public womens locker rooms?

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gumball
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Dec. 12, 2013 11:02 am

You clearly have no idea how to answer simple questions; you do have a good idea of how to beg them by using the old politicians' trick of ignoring the questions asked and either answering different questions than the ones asked or going on a rant rather than answering the questions asked. You've done the latter here.

Happy obfuscating!

Toodles.

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Ulysses
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Something that comes to mind every time I hear an issue like this is: The same arguments for LGBTQ rights (and I'm not saying I'm against those rights), could also be used as arguments to lower the age of consent to "puberty".

If you compare homosexuality with hebephilia (sexual attraction to post-pubescent teens), you will see the similarities:

1. Both were once considered illegal. Only one is now.

2. Both were once considered mental disorders. Only one is now.

3. Both are prevalent in nature. In fact, sexual relationships between the newly-able-to-reproduce, and near-the-end-of-their-reprodutive-years animals is much more prevalent that homosexuality in nature.

4. Both have been prevalent throughout history. Both are still common in other parts of the world.

I just don't get how someone can look down on people who see a homosexual couple and say "that's gross, they shouldn't do that..." would not also support an equally-as-natural relationship between a 14 year old and 50 year old, assuming both have gone through puberty.

If you're for changing the laws to accomidate one group, and not the other, you're being hypocritical.

But, you might say, "A 14 year old's mind isn't fully formed! It's our job to protect them!" In which case, couldn't the same argument be made for a 14 year old who thinks they are transgendered?

ChicagoMatt
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Apr. 28, 2014 12:29 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

Two things, because I don’t really have time right now to respond fully: (1) What did I say that gave you the impression the “sanctity of reproduction” is one of my concerns, or that I think the reproduction of the species is at risk? I don’t remember making any such claims or opinions.

(2) Let me reassure you that I absolutely stand by the right of individuals to alter their bodies any way they like. I no more have hopes for legislation banning sex changes, than I have for legislation banning abortion.

A quick shot back at you. I was sincere when I said "who am I to be judgmental." I'm not dissatisfied with your opinion as it is your opinion to have and I have no other criticism -- that I'm aware of :) I only made the comment about sanctity of reproduction because, more than once, you have expressed dismay at the idea that anyone would alter or remove perfectly healthy reproductive organs and my answer is that I believe trans people are sincere when they say that those organs are not healthy to them. So we have a disagreement over the wisdom of sex-reassignment surgery. People in a democracy are entitled to have differences of opinion and especially when those same differences of opinion occur within the community itself. so... thanks ZenZoe

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mdhess
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Quote Legend:

This is a typical "Big Deal Issue" brought on by the Republicans to distract its base from the major issues that they are supporting the 1% with. Gay marriage, abortion etc. pay attention to the real issues and not the false meaningless ones.

It's quite a luxury to be someone who can say it's no big deal. Disenfranchising entire communities from the right to self determination is not a false, meaningless issue and especially when unprovoked hate and ire is pointed directly at an innocent population as the scapegoat for the power grab. Are you new to politics?

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mdhess
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Quote Ulysses:

You clearly have no idea how to answer simple questions; you do have a good idea of how to beg them by using the old politicians' trick of ignoring the questions asked and either answering different questions than the ones asked or going on a rant rather than answering the questions asked. You've done the latter here.

Happy obfuscating!

Toodles.

Perhaps I should have used smaller words.

Let's review tape and see what you asked and see what I said:

Here's the question you asked:

Quote Ulysses:

If and when a documented instance of abuse occurs as I've mentioned, will you acknowledge that the concern is not merely for a "straw man?" Will you consider even one victim of such an abuse to be one too many?

followed up closely by this obnoxious and unfair remark

Quote Ulysses:

The question of whether anybody would want their female children sharing a locker room shower with a trans man who hadn't had the operation is a valid one.

I would not. I would forbid it. If that's offensive, too bad; that's MY choice, and the Constitution guarantees me freedom of association and the right to choose same for minors under my care who are still not mature enough to make wise choices for themselves. That's the way it is. That's all the reason I need. Why? The reason is analogous to when parents and grandparents finally have to answer a kid asking "Why?" all the time with, "Because I am your mom/dad (grandma/grandpa) and I say so, THAT'S why."

Perhaps you were too emotionally wrought over a non-issue issue to realize that in your example you had a suposedly innocent female child pitted against a "man" with a penis in the locker room when we are discussing two innocent children and four concerned parents. So you were positing a wickedly biased scenario as the set-up and so it was not just a straw men argument but a loaded question from the outset (and the very sort of question the filthy minded jump to).

Let's see what I said:

You clearly have no idea how many acts of violence occur against the transgender community because of inflammatory rhetoric warning against some perceived danger no more likely than any incidental stranger danger. In fact the likelihood that cases of sexual misconduct will be committed by a trans person is probably less than the general public average as transgenderism is not about one's sexuality and being transgender is in no way determinant of who the trans person finds sexually attractive any more than for any of us. The difference between the general public and the transgender community is that trans people probably try to remain more discreet and discretionary about their public appearances than many uncouth non-trans men and women (like men who whistle for instance) who may feel far more comfortable asserting themselves onto others in public spaces. It is bigotry and tyranny over the minority by the majority (in this case a tiny and already vulnerable minority) to perpetuate such nonsense... is all I'm saying - See more at: http://www.thomhartmann.com/forum/2016/04/transgenderism#sthash.P3UX3b5f...

Hmmm, I think I was very reasonable but to put it in small words you may understand: trans people are no more likely to pose a threat to any stranger than any of us and trans children do not want to suffer emotional trauma and nor do their parents want them to suffer emotional trauma from being a girl seen by her classmates to have a penis any more than you want your daughter to be traumatized by seeing a girl with a penis in the locker room. There is not any man involved in the scenario you asked me about. You are displaying unnecessarily vindictive angst for no reason whatsoever. I've been very patient responding to ignorant comments and loaded questions and then you accuse me of being evasive? That is some arrogance, I must say. If you'd like me to explain what any of these words mean please feel free to ask.

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mdhess
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Apr. 9, 2010 11:43 pm

I see no similarity between the two at all and I think it's unfortunate that you would even bring up such a wierd attraction in comparison to homosexuality as the notion that homosexuals prey on the young is an unfounded and insidious stereotype that has long been perpetuated and one that the LGBT community still faces from many mean and ignorant fronts. Are you talking about actual "attraction" by both parties? I don't think it's attraction that's at play in such situations so much as dominance and manipulation. What 13 or 14 y/o girl is really going to want a 50 year old man sexually or otherwise? The instances of actual attraction by both parties must be so rare as to render the attempt to make any such comparison an absurdity. Why not compare homosexuality to any sexual oddity?

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mdhess
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Quote mdhess:
Quote Legend:

This is a typical "Big Deal Issue" brought on by the Republicans to distract its base from the major issues that they are supporting the 1% with. Gay marriage, abortion etc. pay attention to the real issues and not the false meaningless ones.

It's quite a luxury to be someone who can say it's no big deal. Disenfranchising entire communities from the right to self determination is not a false, meaningless issue and especially when unprovoked hate and ire is pointed directly at an innocent population as the scapegoat for the power grab. Are you new to politics?

No. I pay attention to the real issues and not the ones that the Republicans want to distract you with. I could care less about transgenders using a bathroom. In 65 years it has not affected me. I am more concerned about TPP and other things that our media does not report on than I am about transgender people that will distract the Republcan base. Whiile they are distracted then they can pass some bill that takes away more of your rights.

Legend
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Nov. 27, 2012 7:46 am
the notion that homosexuals prey on the young is an unfounded and insidious stereotype that has long been perpetuated and one that the LGBT community still faces from many mean and ignorant fronts.

I didn't say anything about homosexuals preying on the young. I think I laid out a good argument that if we accept homosexuality, then we should also accept hebephilia. If we applaud a high school student for exploring their sexual identity with someone of the same gender, or explore their own gender options, shouldn't we also applaud them if they explore sexual relationships with people who are older than them? To say that someone who is over 18 that enters into a relationship with someone who is post-puberty, but not-yet-18, is "preying" on that person, is perpetuating a negative stereotype.

What 13 or 14 y/o girl is really going to want a 50 year old man sexually or otherwise?

You're also perpetuating a stereotype that the man is the older person in the couple. I was careful not to assign genders to the ages. If a 15-year-old boy wants to enter into a relationship with a 28-year-old woman, is that more acceptable? What if that 15-year-old boy wishes to identify as a female, and use the women's locker room? All public high schools here in Chicago give out free condoms, no questions asked. How can society tell a teenager that we trust you to explore your sexuality and gender identity, and we want you to be safe, but we don't trust you to date someone older than you?

The instances of actual attraction by both parties must be so rare as to render the attempt to make any such comparison an absurdity.

It's MORE common throughout history and in parts of the world today than homosexuality was and is. Particularly when you consider that relationships aren't just about sexual attraction, but also financial issues, companionship, etc.

Statistically, the higher the income levels in a marriage, the more likely that marriage is to survive, and the happier the people in that marriage tend to be. Which one is more morally repugnant: A 15 year old who has homosexual sex with a 17 year old? Or a 15 year old who has hetereosexual sex with a 25 year old? How can you say, in one case, the 15 year old knows what they're doing, and in the other case they don't?

Also, in most European countries - the Socialist countries that Thom and other Liberals love to say that America should strive to be more like - the age of consent is lower. It's 15 in Sweden, and 14 in Germany.

ChicagoMatt
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Apr. 28, 2014 12:29 pm

I wonder how many people will admit that, when they were teens, they were attracted to older people. I know that it's VERY common for teenage boys to be attracted to older women - famous actresses, their friend's mothers, etc. I when I think back to the girls I knew in high school, they were all attracted to men in their 20s. Mostly singers and actors.

I'm just saying that I don't get how people can be so adamant in their defense of homosexuality as "natural", and yet think that a relationship between a high school student and a middle-aged person is "unnatural". All of the evidence says that the latter is actually more natural.

ChicagoMatt
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Apr. 28, 2014 12:29 pm

Quote mdhess:

Quote Zenzoe:

Two things, because I don’t really have time right now to respond fully: (1) What did I say that gave you the impression the “sanctity of reproduction” is one of my concerns, or that I think the reproduction of the species is at risk? I don’t remember making any such claims or opinions.

(2) Let me reassure you that I absolutely stand by the right of individuals to alter their bodies any way they like. I no more have hopes for legislation banning sex changes, than I have for legislation banning abortion.

A quick shot back at you. I was sincere when I said "who am I to be judgmental." I'm not dissatisfied with your opinion as it is your opinion to have and I have no other criticism -- that I'm aware of :) I only made the comment about sanctity of reproduction because, more than once, you have expressed dismay at the idea that anyone would alter or remove perfectly healthy reproductive organs and my answer is that I believe trans people are sincere when they say that those organs are not healthy to them. So we have a disagreement over the wisdom of sex-reassignment surgery. People in a democracy are entitled to have differences of opinion and especially when those same differences of opinion occur within the community itself. so... thanks ZenZoe

And thanks back at you, mdhess. :-)

Well, I'm sure you would agree that "reproductive" organs do far more for us than enable us to reproduce. Not to get personal about it —no need for you to confess, haha— but I'm sure every now and then you probably experience delight, or even ecstasy, thanks to your very own reproductive organs, and all without any thought of reproduction. You may not fall down in prostrate gratitude and praise to the gods for such a gift of nature, but you gotta admit, if there’s anything deserving of the word “hallowed,” that just might be it.

I’m not a religious person, so if I cringe at the thought of the excision of sex organs, don’t worry— I am not regretting whatever loss to human reproduction that excision may represent, on behalf of “God’s plan,” or whatever. No! I simply regret damage done to good stuff, just as I would regret seeing a cherry tree pulled out by its roots.

And, of course, the other level of care goes with what has to mean a loss of normal sexual functioning with surgical reconfiguring, reconstruction or “reassignments.” What am I thinking of as “normal? Well, for example, biological females’ orgasms include the mighty uterus— that is, the uterus plays a part not only in reproduction, but it also has an integral role in the pleasurable aspect of the female orgasm. In fact (in case anybody’s interested), orgasms during the eighth and ninth months of pregnancy rock hugely, ‘cause the uterus has stretched to fill your torso, and it, the whole of it, contracts in waves of pleasure during orgasm. (Sorry if that’s too graphic, but many people are ignorant about this aspect of the uterus —gynecologists too— and I feel it’s important to get the word out.)

Anyway, the thing is, though I’ve never had a male orgasm, my guess is that female and male orgasms are different, by observation and on account of the difference in anatomy & physiology and the interplay of hormones and such. But here’s the problem: An MTF transsexual may have orgasms, as I understand it, because the reassignment surgery constructs a vagina with penile anatomy lining it (? - correct me if I’m wrong), so they will still have sensation, etc., etc. However, because they do not have a uterus, they will not be experiencing a FEMALE orgasm.

Is that important? Perhaps not for the transsexual. Nor would it be important —or it may be— to the woman who has had a hysterectomy. You can still claim your womanhood. But I think it might be important for a sexually-interested transgendered person to have that information, before going ahead with an operation— at least know that you’re not going to be having a complete female orgasm.

Moving on to other thoughts inspired by this thread— for one, Legend’s assertions as to the subject’s being a plot by the Right, to distract us from more “important” issues. Well, I have noticed a plethora of Legend’s comments, among them, for example, on guns, racism, whether Cruz is a natural born citizen, and etc., and so one has to wonder why the push back on this subject, given that, objectively speaking, we are no more manipulated by the Right here, than anywhere else. The idea is absurd on its face.

So what’s up with that? Could it be the turd in our liberal punchbowl, i.e., male chauvinism? I’ve heard the complaint that “women’s issues” are “wedge issues” not worthy of discussion, a second-class issue, of course; I wouldn’t be surprised if that sentiment is at work on this issue as well— it’s a “soft” subject, not one worthy of big swingin’ dick attention. To that mind, sexism, misogyny and transphobia happens to boys and girls, women and men, and what happens to THEM does not matter.

Do gendered lives matter, Legend?

Then there’s Chicago Matt's false equivalency of arguing that enlightenment should arrive for the sake of “hebephilia,” just as it has for homosexuality. Excuse me? What Planet of Ignorance about Children, Developmental Immaturity, Unequal Power Dynamics between Adults and Children does he live on? Oye!

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Well, you seem to be confused. This is not some non-issue that's been drummed up as a distraction, this is the epicenter. Slick conservative operators with the cooperation of their stooges in the NC legislature used those bumpkins to wrest local control from local communities with regard to what ordinances they can and can't pass. Charlotte passed a liberalizing ordinance and the GOP saw an available liberal outlet and the idiot stooges, acting out of idiotic misperceptions, rushed to shut down any hope of self determination going on in the community to make sure that nothing liberal happened while they were in control of the state. This time the excuse to impose fascistic control was policing bathroom behavior but to just allow the issue to go unchallenged because it doesn't seem central is missing the point.

This is the very same tactic employed over and over by the right (business interests), in some form or other, to wrest control so that they can keep their grubby hands on nearly complete control over the money stock. They dole out just enough to labor, over and over, as the corporatocracy sucks the vast bulk right back up into its coffers to ensure it maintains corporate control over how the economy is organized. In the same way that it used to be said that women were too often kept barefoot and pregnant that degree of abuse of us all is going on by the executive class from their gleaming towers on Wall St, downtown Detroit, Chicago, etc.. They have taken the middle class labor population gains accomplished by past unionizing and made those financial gains back into a burden on labor. 401k's so you can fund your own retirement for instance. But even more insidious is that an economy organized around capitalism is inherently exploitive and we've been lulled into believing that we are best served by being exploited by it. There's no reason why the people tasked with handling the money should assume that it entitles them to an outsized share of the reward for enterprise. They aren't doing us any special favors that we couldn't do for ourselves better if they would only quit hoarding all the power that they use their ill gotten wealth to purchase.

Perhaps you hadn't noticed but disenfranchising people -- whether it's by restricting access to voting or restricting the ability of a local communities to determine their own community standards (in Charlotte, NC or Flint, MI or anywhere else). This IS the fight between the 0.01% and the 99%. GOP politicians say they want everyone to enjoy "personal liberty" (translation: don't expect to get anything in return for your taxes) but what the people in control of the GOP really want is to keep their jack booted heel on the necks of the rest of us so that they can keep control over how money circulates in the economy so that they can keep taking out the glutton's share they've become accustomed to.

When the middle class is healthy it does not have to put up with crap from corporate employers because a middle class family has enough wealth to weather a family reorganization. But the middle class has been stratified so that some families are still mostly able to be autonomous but most have been so shortchanged by the economy that the family remains dependant on maintaining employment in situations favorable to exploitation of the labor force and hence individual employees -- mostly service positions selling trade imbalancing imports that replaced the sorts of products that US labor used to make here in exchange for healthy wages and a healthy economy.

Fascism operates by posting and strictly enforcing public prohibitions so that the populace is subdued. The rich and powerful can easily skirt or pay to escape such prohibitions (drug use for instance) but the rest must adhere or face the consequences. North Carolina just exercised that sort of fascistic control and pointing it out and pointing out that it is part and parcel of the broader fight for democracy and equality is hardly an exercise in futility.

The legal precept that we really all count on as coming from the Constitution is that a person is innocent until provern guilty and yet over and over capitaism employs the tactic of assigning phantom guilt so as to needlessly regulate behavior. This country has been a kind of neo-fascist state from the outset with African Americans the first target of fascistic exploitation. Thereafter there was Jim Crow and child labor and company stores and on and on. That kind of neo-fascism is able to take hold when a critical mass of people become convinced to accept the precept that, when applied to certain people, a presumption of guilt and guilt by association is prudent whether it is or not so that policing can occur prior to any conviction of guilt and it is done democratically making it all the more insidious. Unions once faced that construct as did women who dared to assert their rights. So when I see a population being targeted in order to perpetuate the very same kind of fascistic control mechanisms that keep us always in a yoke I don't count debunking the legitimacy of a trunped up issue as being meaningless. It's far from meaningless.

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mdhess
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Apr. 9, 2010 11:43 pm

I still don't see the comparison. Sexual orientation and attraction are two different aspects of human nature. I agree that an attraction between an older teen or a twenty something and a teen isn't wierd or perverse as 18 is not a magic number. I think post pubescent teens can fall in love with an older person but I recall my own puberty and i think it's wise for anyone to mature somehwat beyond the transition of puberty before making a lifelong commitment. I remember when I was a young gay man going out to the clubs and whenever an older man would ogle me I would think to myself that I don't ever want to act like that because it made them seem pathetic and creepy to me.

I thought you were suggesting that it's perfectly healthy for a middle-aged or older person and a newly post-pubescent teen to enter into a relationship and I disagree. I think such situations occur mostly out of some kind of unnatural manipulation. Finally, we do not live in prides like animals (well, most of us don't but some few -- Donald Trump comes to mind -- do).

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mdhess
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Apr. 9, 2010 11:43 pm

You may be interested then to read my response to Legend regarding why this isn't a distraction but one of the epicenters of the fight against our oligarch overlords just like Flint, MI is. What he sees as a "distraction" from the fight for economic equality is actually a prime example of how economic inequality is created and maintained at the expense of the proletariat.

Most of us grow up desiring to attain healthy and happy families and relationships as our primary goal but a select portion grow up to be (emotionally disturbed) individuals who's primary motivation is the acquisition of wealth. Liberals and progressives have accepted that these people have a civil right to chase their dreams, as perverse as they may seem, so long as they don't harm others doing it. The difficulty is that these disturbed people chase money instead of happiness and then use that money to create legal avenues which are abusive of their right to chase the money so that it concentrates more and more into fewer and fewer hands and the vast majority of us who are moral economic actors taking only a fair share of the gain pay the price for their excess. That was already the state of affairs when the Constitution was adopted and, while the Constitution has allowed for incremental liberalization once in a while, economic liberalization has been regressing for some time now.

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mdhess
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Apr. 9, 2010 11:43 pm

The Republicans get a large number of it middle and lower class voters by using divisive issues such as abortion, gay marriage and transgenderism is what I am saying. Only the 1% should be voting Republican but low info voters flock to the party because they are against these issues. Non of these issues affect these low info voters, in most cases. But they see Mike Huckabee joking about showering in the girls PE shower and they are swayed to the right.

Legend
Joined:
Nov. 27, 2012 7:46 am
Then there’s Chicago Matt's false equivalency of arguing that enlightenment should arrive for the sake of “hebephilia,” just as it has for homosexuality. Excuse me? What Planet of Ignorance about Children, Developmental Immaturity, Unequal Power Dynamics between Adults and Children does he live on? Oye!

What's false about my equavalence? The arguments are literally identical. I'm NOT arguing for relationships between children and adults. I'm arguing that our modern definition of "adult" beginning at age 18 goes against nature. The age 18 is completely arbitrary and a social construct. Why not raise it to 25 - the age at which you can rent a car?

I would also argue that if "unequal power dynamics" is a reason to stop a relationship, than many current relationships would be void. Dating between college professors and students is very common. As is dating between bosses and employees. Shall we forbid those relationships as well?

Assuming that all humans biologically mature at roughly the same rate, either the US has it's age of consent too high, or other, more enlightened countries have it too low.

Imagine a relationship between a 15 year old and a 40 year old. It doesn't matter what their genders are. Now imagine an argument against that relationship.

Now ask yourself - is that argument against the relationship also an argument against homosexuality in the 1950s? It most likely is. Was that argument against homosexuality wrong in the 1950s? Then why isn't it wrong today?

People used to be jailed for homosexuality. Now that seems silly and archaic.

One day, people getting jail time for "statutory rape", when they have a relationship with teenager, will also seem just as silly and archaic.

I believe in everyone's right to form relationships with whomever they choose - interracial, homosexual, even polygamous. And yes, Hebephilious as well.

ChicagoMatt
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Apr. 28, 2014 12:29 pm

To my mind, a societal and political critique surrounding transgender issues needs to be framed more as a neoliberal case, than a case of neo-fascism. Sure, the fascists do their usual dirty deeds, but without a look at the neoliberal societal context in which those sexual-identity choices play out, we’re not going to achieve the kind of freedom that is truly free of oppressions of the gender-bigoted kind.

Here’s an article I hope you read in its entirety with an open mind, because it makes the point I’ve been trying to make so very well, and I do so wish to be understood:

Neo-liberalism, Masculinity and Femininity

...In my view it is a cause of celebration that within a relatively short historical period we have transitioned into a sufficiently tolerant society that a populist mainstream publication now seemingly supports the identity struggles of a non-normatively gendered individual. On the other hand the image, the immediate populist media response to it last week, and today’s interview, point to issues that are far larger than the narrow individualism of one (famous) person’s transition. Collectively they point to ongoing unresolved conflicts between neo-liberal and radical analyses of femininity, sexuality and freedom that characterise our current society’s approach to ‘woman’ and ‘women’...

...In a society where free speech is lauded as an unequivocal good there is a current powerful hierarchy of what one is ‘allowed’ to say without incurring the wrath of social media. Brendan O’Neill comments that the photograph of Jenner is indeed iconic ‘in the traditional sense … in that it’s being venerated as an actual icon … It’s an image we’re all expected to bow down to, and whose essential truth we must imbibe; an image you question or ridicule at your peril, with those who refuse to genuflect before it facing excommunication from polite society. Yesterday’s Jennermania confirms how weirdly authoritarian, even idolatrous, trans politics has become’.

At the risk of appearing reductive and insulting, I suggest a more effective catalyst for progressive social change is the following: firstly, unpack some of the conceptual terms that GLAAD uses to direct our responses not only to Jenner but to transgender people in general; secondly, move beyond the neo-liberal language of personal choice, voluntarism, and individualism, and return to analyses of the social context out of which our gender identities and choices emerge; thirdly, problematize Jenner’s inner woman as a simulacrum...

...The ‘Inner Woman’ as Reactionary Simulacrum

In contrast to supporters, people who believe Jenner’s image frees people from restrictive understandings of gender, Jenner’s inner ‘woman’ is utterly conventional and normative. It conforms to the perspective of the male gaze and the consumerist neoliberal ideal of the ‘authentic’ woman that is in reality no more than a sexist and patriarchal simulacrum.

I argue that neo-liberalism and the pornification of culture have colonised our imaginations. Jenner’s fabricated inner ‘woman’ is as fixed as any biologically determined approach to femininity. If we genuinely want to create a just society we need to return to an older ideal of politics and equality that move beyond individual ‘choice’, ‘agency’ and of ‘hyper-femininity’ as ‘empowerment’ and collectively work to create social conditions where gender is less reified and exaggerated, more fluid and not directly mapped onto biological bodies. In other words it is time in my view that we return to the theory and politics of radical feminism, and the freedoms it promises for men as well as women. [Zenzoe bolds]

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Legend:

The Republicans get a large number of it middle and lower class voters by using divisive issues such as abortion, gay marriage and transgenderism is what I am saying. Only the 1% should be voting Republican but low info voters flock to the party because they are against these issues. Non of these issues affect these low info voters, in most cases. But they see Mike Huckabee joking about showering in the girls PE shower and they are swayed to the right.

And so what good does it do to avoid a progressive's discussion of these issues? Do you think silence about oppression, bigotry and ignorance from a progressive's point of view will cure the low-information voter?

Think of it as counter-education against the forces of the 1%, Legend. Maybe that will help.

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote mdhess:

Perhaps you were too emotionally wrought over a non-issue issue to realize that in your example you had a suposedly innocent female child pitted against a "man" with a penis in the locker room when we are discussing two innocent children and four concerned parents. So you were positing a wickedly biased scenario as the set-up and so it was not just a straw men argument but a loaded question from the outset (and the very sort of question the filthy minded jump to).

Why is this a non issue? Should men who purport to identify as female be allowed by law to use a womens locker room?

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gumball
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Dec. 12, 2013 11:02 am
I agree that an attraction between an older teen or a twenty something and a teen isn't wierd or perverse as 18 is not a magic number.

Thank you. I think you said it better than I was: 18 isn't a magic number. I get mad when I see the same media that praises a teen coming out as transgendered turning around and villifying an adult who has a consensual relationship with, say, an 16 year old.

I think post pubescent teens can fall in love with an older person but I recall my own puberty and i think it's wise for anyone to mature somehwat beyond the transition of puberty before making a lifelong commitment

I also agree that 18 should be the number for "lifelong commitments". Getting married and just dating someone are different. I made a stupid lifelong commitment to some student loans when I was 17. It wasn't until I was in my 30s that I realized how big of an idiot I was.

Oddly, if I had gotten married at 18, I'd have an easier time getting out of it than I do of getting rid of these student loans.

I remember when I was a young gay man going out to the clubs and whenever an older man would ogle me I would think to myself that I don't ever want to act like that because it made them seem pathetic and creepy to me.

Just looking at someone isn't creepy, I think. Look up pictures of some of today's young celebrities. Am I being creepy or pervese if I look at a picture of Taylor Swift, when she first made it big, in her teen years, and think: "She's attractive"?

One argument I often hear from homosexuals is that "everyone is a little bit gay, but some people won't admit it." Fair enough. But I would make the same argument for hebephilia. "Everyone is a little attracted to teenagers (and the most popular internet porn searches prove this), but most people just won't admit to it.

I thought you were suggesting that it's perfectly healthy for a middle-aged or older person and a newly post-pubescent teen to enter into a relationship and I disagree.

The keyword there is "newly". I don't think there should be a mad rush to date someone once they have gone through puberty, which, for many girls, is around age 11 these days. But by age, say, 16... most teens of both genders would have been through puberty for awhile.

ChicagoMatt
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Apr. 28, 2014 12:29 pm
Quote ChicagoMatt:

What's false about my equavalence? The arguments are literally identical. I'm NOT arguing for relationships between children and adults. I'm arguing that our modern definition of "adult" beginning at age 18 goes against nature...


Um, well, your comparison IS a false equivalency, because: (1) most homophobia has its origins in Biblical prohibition— it’s a “sin,” whereas the Bible is packed to the brim with God-approved rape of children, or, if you prefer, marriages between children and grown, or old, men.

(2) Many homophobic bigots reject homosexuality as being simply “immoral,’ or unnatural. I suppose that’s the argument you suggest as an equivalent argument w/ regard to pedophilia.

Well, it’s not at all an equivalence, because homosexuality and heterosexuality are both easily demonstrated as being benign sexual activities involving two consenting adults, whose behavior has no inherent damaging effects on the partners who engage in that behavior. Such is NOT the case with pedophilia— that’s an activity that has deep, lasting and demonstrable damaging effects on the young children involved— and by young, I mean 15 year-olds too. Those are children, children whose social, emotional, and physiological development does not comport with CONSENT.

I find it disturbing that you don’t understand the difference.

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I don't find it just disturbing, I'm tempted to report this purported 'school teacher's' views to the proper authorities. And I don't care what his/her sexual orientation happens to be.

rs allen
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Mar. 15, 2012 5:55 pm

Ah, so any questions you are either unwilling or unable to answer are "biased" or "loaded," eh? You should hope you never have to go to court and testify about anything, because any judge would direct you to answer the questions asked, upon pain of being held in contempt of court and have legal sanctions applied to you upon your refusal.

Your response is nothing more than continued begging of the questions by attacking them. It's just an example of somebody refusing to make a tough, existential choice on where he/she stands on a given issue by refusing to choose. You oughta at least have enough guts to admit that it's your choice, rather than attacking the questions themselves.

It's a disturbing trend in modern American society to worry more about how somebody feels about the truth being told than about the truth itself. It's disturbing because it's the kind of mindset that leads, ultimately, to Orwellian definitions by consensus of what's acceptable and what isn't, and politically correct fools like you simply further it when you obfuscate as you have, and you do no favors to progressives or the progressive movement, because the Right can just as easily turn the tables and do the same thing to evade their own responsibilities to truth, which is the basis of all freedom.

Worry more about making tough decisions and taking honest positions on tough issues than about simpering out your own discomfort when challenged to do so. It's not either/or, you know; you can do that and remain progressive.

You've revealed how intellectually callow you truly are.

And all parties to this particular issue should stop using analogy to homosexuality to frame issues. Homosexuality and transgenderism are not the same thing; they shouldn't be brought up as rhetorical, semantical, or philosophical stalking horses for each other. All that does is to muddy the waters of sound discussion.

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Ulysses
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I think the author of the piece has a fine understanding that there are perverse incentives cereated in a neoliberal economy (such as looking a certain way) but I would argue that it occurs in any economy organized around capitalism. However I think her notions regarding the trans community and their relationship to neoliberalism and feminism are pure, unadulterated rubbish. Sorry, but that's my opinion and I hold that opinioin because she speaks about trans people, including Caitlyn Jenner, as though they are only female automatons and not an actual participant presenting themselves as the gender they identify with along with all the other people who identify as that gender. She treats both Caitlyn Jenner (who dresses as a prototypical conservative woman --not a hypersexualized female stereotype -- as she is a conservative) and the trans community in general as though they are only assuming an identity instead of reflecting an identity and it's exceptionally demeaning in my opinion.

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mdhess
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Apr. 9, 2010 11:43 pm

My whole "The Age of Consent in the US Is Too High" argument actually comes from several educational blogs I read. It's a hot topic among teachers these days, particularly in areas with large immigrant populations. The main question is: "Is 'consent' a social construct? And, if so, should un-assimilated immigrants be expected to follow the same rules."

Or, to use a real-life example: We make accomidations for recent immigrants from Mexico in school, by teaching classes in Spanish. Their native language is part of their social construct. So, then, is their age of consent, which in some parts of Mexico is only 12. TWELVE! Even I think that's too low. But, what if you have a student that you know is here illegally, and that student is 13, and has a girlfriend who is 25, which is completely normal in Mexico, do you have to report that to the authorities? The answer is yes, because all teachers are legally mandated reporters. But morally speaking, is that teenager doing anything wrong? It's the cultural equivalent of speaking Spanish or having a Quincera.

This issue has been brought up in places in Europe that have had a large influx of Syrian refugees as well. The age of consent there is 15, AND polygamy is legal. So, do those legal Syrian marriages still hold when those people immigrate to a country where that sort of thing isn't allowed?

Even seemigly simply things, like field trip permission forms, are affected by this. If a 15-year-old is legally married, but living in a country where the age of consent is higher than 15, then can that student's spouse sign the field trip form, assuming that they live with their spouse and not their parents anymore?

There is a lot of evidence that suggests that the modern age of consent laws have their roots in xenophobia, particularly against Blacks and Eastern European immigrants in the early 1900s. Marriage between teens and middle-aged people was common among White Protestants until the early 1900s, when those White Protestants began moving into cities, and were suddenly in close proximity to other cultures and races. The laws were passed by White Protestant men, to "protect their White Protestant daughters".

When singer R. Kelly was arrested for having consensual sex with a teenager, that was one of the arguments his supporters made: That the "18 years old age of consent" was the "White man's law". I remember that Oprah even had a debate about this with some expert guests at the time.

Another important point, while we're at it: Consent laws vary by gender. In many places, a teenage boy is legally able to engage in consensual sex with an older female years before a teenage female can engage in consensual sex with an older male. The whole system has patriarchy written all over it. This is why middle-aged females who sleep with teenage boys usually only get in legal trouble if they were that boy's teacher or coach, which is a special circumstance under the law. And even then, those women get much lighter sentences than a man their age would get for sleeping with a teenage girl. Where are the gender-equality people on this?

Anyway, getting back to the topic of this thread: I completely support transgender rights. And homosexual rights. And interracial couple's right. And everything else that has come along with the sexual enlightenment of the last few generations. I just don't think it's over yet. The next logical steps for the enlightenment are for the acceptance of polygamous relationships (on the legal level. I think many young people already accept them socially), and the lowering of the age of consent to something more in-line with the rest of the world.

If you really want to know more, and to prove I'm not just some creepy guy who is coming up with this off of the top of my head, just Google "Age of consent in the US". You'll get hundreds of scholarly articles explaining why it is so high because of old xenophobic and patriarchal reasons, and why it should be lowered. Most of the ones I read, and the general consenus on the educational blogs I read, is that 16 is the optimal age.

(On a side-note, the age of consent IS 16 in some states. It's 17 or 18 in other states. Much like the hodgepodge of transgender/sodomy/homosexual state laws that were eventually evened out by the Supreme Court, this issue, too, may one day be federalized.)

ChicagoMatt
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Apr. 28, 2014 12:29 pm
Quote gumball:
Quote mdhess:

Perhaps you were too emotionally wrought over a non-issue issue to realize that in your example you had a suposedly innocent female child pitted against a "man" with a penis in the locker room when we are discussing two innocent children and four concerned parents. So you were positing a wickedly biased scenario as the set-up and so it was not just a straw men argument but a loaded question from the outset (and the very sort of question the filthy minded jump to).

Why is this a non issue? Should men who purport to identify as female be allowed by law to use a womens locker room?

We are not talking about men or transvestite men, we are talking about transgender women and I expect that transgender women are as concerned about remaining as discreet as possible as anybody who has a disfigurement they are embarrased by. You are being judgmental because you hold stereotypical and false assumptions about trans people as valid. Communities already have police to handle cases of public lewdness and if anyone wants to abuse a situation to be a pervert or to molest someone or just to behave indecently in public a sign on a bathroom door or a rule about only one sex being iin a locker room will not prevent a determined pervert from acting out his or her perversion.

For the sake of fairness I will point out that it is almost exclusively the transgender person or the transsexual person that is the target violence or sexual abuse when altercations occur between trans and non-trans people. It isn't that the NC legislature told businesses and communities that they don't have to accomodate trans people that is the problem but that they told businesses and communities that they can't accomodate trans people if they want to.

Trans women who have not fully transitioned being in a woman's locker room has not so far come up as a burning issue but when it does there are courts available should people not be able to come to some reasonable understanding. As it has not been and need not be an issue it is a -- guess what -- straw man.

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mdhess
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Apr. 9, 2010 11:43 pm

I won my first court case when I was sixteen. Recently I prepared a case that won against a corporate attorney representing State Farm when the company sued my parents for a not insubstantial amount of money so... maybe you're just a sorehead because I see through you? You did ask a loaded question. I did not equivocate.

Oh, and FYI, it's not difficult to understand that the L, the G, the B and the T communities are all marginalized communities who have the shared misfortune of being stereotyped as suffering from a mental illness and sexual disorder. The LG and B communities stand up for the T community because they have similar, but not as severe, histories of ill treatment for being considered deviants. African Americans were marginalized because of their race (or, more correctly, their features) -- the combined LGBT communities have all been marginalized for their behavior. Pretty simple.

And you still apparently don't get that this IS the face of capitalist exploitation by the 0.01% -- divide and conquer. Pointing that out may be damaging to whimpy progressives who cave at every challenge but how is pointing it out damaging to the redical left? How is exposing the condemnation of innocent people without due process a distraction? Especially as it is a mechanism for the continuing exploitation of us all? If it disrupts some whimpy progressive's designs to be an apologist for a failed political process that's not my problem.

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mdhess
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Apr. 9, 2010 11:43 pm

I just happen to have a framed movie poster for Casa Blanca and it made me think about the fact that Lauren Bacall was a very young woman when she married a very middle-aged Humphrey Bogart. I don't have any problem with "May, December" romances so long as they really are romances. But then, I'm a romantic

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mdhess
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Apr. 9, 2010 11:43 pm

One of the arguments for bills like HB2 in NC is that anyone, at any time, can claim they "felt like a man/woman at that moment", and just use whichever bathroom they wanted. You could never prosecute anyone for using the wrong bathroom, because that could always be the defense, and it's impossible to prove how someone really feels. I know most of the bill's supporters are thinking about creepy old men going into the women's restroom. But I think a lot of women could actually use this to go to the men's restroom, to avoid the line for their restroom.

There are a few places around her - concert venues and stadiums - that ALWAYS have long lines for the women's restroom. I know because I always walk past them on my way to the men's restroom. Couldn't those women just go to the men's restroom instead?

And I'm not saying that's a problem. Hey, more power to them.

They would face a logistic problem once they got in there. The same logistical problem that a pre-op transexual would face: the trough urinals. In most of those men's restrooms, there's like four disgusting stalls, and then long troughs. It's not uncommon to have to find a place to squeeze in, shoulder-to-shoulder, between other guys, to do your business. And, at Wrigley Field in particular, after a few beers, a lot of guys confuse the sinks with the troughs. I know for a fact that, at the end of the game, they have to clean the men's rooms with a firehose and lots of bleach.

I have this vision of a pre-op FTM transexual walking into one of those places for the first time, and reconsidering their life choices. :)

Of course, I've never been in the women's restroom at one of these venues. I can only imagine that it's at least marginally cleaner.

ChicagoMatt
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Apr. 28, 2014 12:29 pm

Comments from Heather Wilhelm: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2016/04/14/why_the_transgender_bathroom_wars_matter__130282.html

America’s burgeoning bathroom wars, so silly and banal on the surface, are actually quite deep: They fling together two conflicting, wildly incompatible streams of thought. On the transgender side, identity is everything. If gender is truly fluid, and yet truly knowable, then the denial of one’s gender identity is a hurtful denial of one’s very being or self.

This is also why the bathroom issue provides such a massive spark point: If the government agrees that trans men and women can access the bathrooms of their choice, they are officially validating the view that gender is no more than what you feel or believe it to be. They are ruling this view, in their own way, a fact—and if it’s a fact, can anyone really rightfully disagree?

Last week, novelist Ian McEwan learned the consequences of thought crime the hard way. “The self, like a consumer desirable, may be plucked from the shelves of a personal identity supermarket, a ready-to-wear little black number,” he told an audience. “…Call me old-fashioned, but I tend to think of people with penises as men.”

Unfortunately, the bathroom wars are likely just getting started. The Obama administration has already chosen sides. “This is a good illustration that the fight for civil rights is not over,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said of the North Carolina law. “The president, every time, is going to be on the side of equality and fairness and justice for every American.”

That sounds great, unless you’re an American with traditional views on gender, your kids are in a public school, and the girls’ locker room has just been declared a gender-fluid zone. Alas, my friend; you simply have the wrong thoughts. Sadly, in some cases, that’s when “equality and fairness and justice” don’t really apply.

Coalage1
Joined:
Mar. 14, 2012 8:11 am
Quote mdhess:
Quote gumball:
Quote mdhess:

Perhaps you were too emotionally wrought over a non-issue issue to realize that in your example you had a suposedly innocent female child pitted against a "man" with a penis in the locker room when we are discussing two innocent children and four concerned parents. So you were positing a wickedly biased scenario as the set-up and so it was not just a straw men argument but a loaded question from the outset (and the very sort of question the filthy minded jump to).

Why is this a non issue? Should men who purport to identify as female be allowed by law to use a womens locker room?

We are not talking about men or transvestite men, we are talking about transgender women and I expect that transgender women are as concerned about remaining as discreet as possible as anybody who has a disfigurement they are embarrased by. You are being judgmental because you hold stereotypical and false assumptions about trans people as valid. Communities already have police to handle cases of public lewdness and if anyone wants to abuse a situation to be a pervert or to molest someone or just to behave indecently in public a sign on a bathroom door or a rule about only one sex being iin a locker room will not prevent a determined pervert from acting out his or her perversion.

For the sake of fairness I will point out that it is almost exclusively the transgender person or the transsexual person that is the target violence or sexual abuse when altercations occur between trans and non-trans people. It isn't that the NC legislature told businesses and communities that they don't have to accomodate trans people that is the problem but that they told businesses and communities that they can't accomodate trans people if they want to.

Trans women who have not fully transitioned being in a woman's locker room has not so far come up as a burning issue but when it does there are courts available should people not be able to come to some reasonable understanding. As it has not been and need not be an issue it is a -- guess what -- straw man.

It is very much an actual issue here in Washington state;

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/states-rules-for-trans...

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/wa-man-women-bathroom-test-tran...

I'm not concerned about transgender comunity being predators (well, no more so than the population as a whole), I'm concerned predators and peeping toms using this law as cover. It seems to me all they have to do is claim to identify as women, put on a wig (or grow out his hair) and stroll into the female locker room and expose himself.

Is it discrimination if a woman does not want to share a shower with such a person?

There are monsters among us, no not the trans community, who are capable of unthinkable acts. I'm no criminal psychologist but it seems to me predators start out with peeping and as they get away with it they move on to bolder, more heinous acts.

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gumball
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Dec. 12, 2013 11:02 am

Quote mdhess:

I think the author of the piece has a fine understanding that there are perverse incentives cereated in a neoliberal economy (such as looking a certain way) but I would argue that it occurs in any economy organized around capitalism.

That does not actually negate the point, mdhess, that this particular form of today’s capitalism, which we now understand as neoliberalism —”free” market capitalism, “trickle down” mythologies, with an emphasis on individuality (society as an issue does not exist), boot-strap conservatism, empowerment by self-commodification, deregulation— infests society with conservative, consumerist values that come to us entirely devoid of any critique of patriarchy— no, rather, those values come to us hand-in-hand with patriarchy:

Robert Jensen: “Transgenderism is a liberal, individualist, medicalized response to the problem of patriarchy’s rigid, repressive, and reactionary gender norms.”

And he should add: but it does not fix the problem.

Quote mdhess:

However I think her notions regarding the trans community and their relationship to neoliberalism and feminism are pure, unadulterated rubbish. Sorry, but that's my opinion and I hold that opinioin because she speaks about trans people, including Caitlyn Jenner, as though they are only female automatons and not an actual participant presenting themselves as the gender they identify with along with all the other people who identify as that gender. She treats both Caitlyn Jenner (who dresses as a prototypical conservative woman --not a hypersexualized female stereotype -- as she is a conservative) and the trans community in general as though they are only assuming an identity instead of reflecting an identity and it's exceptionally demeaning in my opinion.

Yes, Jenner dresses, typically, as a “prototypical conservative woman,” with a surgically-”enhanced,” mask of heavy makeup and clothes fitting the fashion industry’s idea of femininity, because transgenderism is, fundamentally, prototypically conservative. That is to say, her look conforms to patriarchal and market-inspired notions and rules about femininity, a conservative capitalist’s dream of womanhood. It’s the look you’re going to see in every magazine, on every female television anchor, in the movies, in pornography, on Barbie, and everywhere else you look. It’s a look that has been sold to us, a look that is manufactured by industrial interests and with profit in mind, and no doubt lots of transgendered women have bought it hook line and sinker.

As for your disagreement with any suggestion that Jenner and her ilk might be posers and female impersonators —simulacrum— I think what you’re missing is the value of authenticity. To my mind, once an individual adopts the ersatz definitions of femininity or masculinity dictated by neoliberal, capitalist standards, failing a more nuanced, broad and varied idea of male and female, i.e., the true nature of the sexes and genders as a spectrum, then they’ve fallen off the cliff into a fake sea of copycat identity. That “dressing up as female” is just plain inauthentic, mdhess. It doesn’t pass the smell test for authenticity.

Having said that, I believe transgendered women and men’s claims about their identities are truly felt. And we should respect that. But that’s not the issue. What you believe about what makes a woman or a man can be true for yourself, while that belief also has societally-determined aspects to what you believe. Your beliefs about yourself do not deny the political and societal imperatives that influenced those beliefs and behaviors, influences that are manifestly apparent as well.

For many centuries, women in China had to conform to a standard of femininity and beauty dictated by their culture and society, one that included foot binding. So that’s an extreme example, where the imperatives of gender hierarchy, patriarchy and fashion were accepted without question, as if such practices had genetic and biological validity, or were god-sent and immutable.

How hard it is to take a step back and see your own “choices” for what they are. Given our neoliberal culture as it is and its power to determine the behavior of whole populations, have transsexuals, especially, made a truly free choice?

What’s sad is that in our culture the words “male” and “female” have lost all meaning, thanks to transgenderISM.

Btw, what is a biological female who looks masculine, has a man’s haircut, and yet self-identifies as a woman? What are they, in the lexicon of transgenderism?

What is a biological man who looks feminine, dresses in feminine ways, and yet self-identifies as a man? What do you call them?

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Why Hasn't Congress Taken War Powers Away From Trump?

Thom plus logo Donald Trump's pathetic betrayal of our Kurdish allies in northern Syria highlights the importance of Congress taking seriously it's constitutional obligation to define and authorize war.
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