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People Are Not the Ideology.

I have been conducting ongoing conversations with people I've known for years on Facebook. To a person they insist that my positions are anti-trans or somehow harmful despite my insistence that I'm talking about an ideology and the connected attempts to make reality irrelevant. I'm going to excerpt the long email sent to me in order to respond to the misconceptions that frequently come up. I'm assuming without asking if I can share, because he offered to make the discourse public on Facebook. Frankly, I'm beyond frustrated and becoming angry with all of the people implying that I'm being bigoted, arrogant, and intellectually dishonest over something they've accepted without thought. 

The irony is that they mean that I am being a heretic. They don't understand that their assertions are no different from religious declarations. I'm a heathen for not accepting gender (the soul) as an important thing. It doesn't matter that not one of them can define gender or explain how it alchemically changes a man into a woman because he hates an essential part of himself. It's just a really bad look that I won't make their religious doctrines my own. Rather than continue the back and forth and address all of the misconceptions my hope is that this method of direct quoting can better illustrate that I'm not talking about individuals.

When he entered the conversation I made the point that people frequently misuse the conditions of people with intersex conditions to cast doubt on the biological fact that sex in humans is binary and immutable. Intersex people are cast as a third category between male and female, which makes the notion of binary sex wrong. Putting aside that we don't classify humans as a whole on the basis of any other disorder of development, it's just factually incorrect to declare that intersex conditions create a third sex. It's unsurprising that people with these conditions are offended by this fetishization. So a week later I find this a bit surprising. These clear misunderstandings of the topic are what happens when someone has gathered what they perceive is enough information to refute someone, without understanding the topic. 

People with intersex conditions are an example of variance within each of the two sexes, not between them. They are either male or female regardless of phenotype and chromosomes. This is a common tactic in discussing trans ideology: "It's wrong for you to be concerned with this thing when you're not talking about this other completely unrelated thing." There is no hypocrisy in not advocating for intersex children. Unlike children identifying as trans, there is no ideology creating exponentially more children with intersex conditions or treating them with evidence free medical protocols. People with these conditions represent .02% of humanity, two years ago 2% of high school students identified as trans or non-binary. The number is .002-.014 percent of the general population.

There is a constant Motte and Bailey around gender and gender identity. There is an assertion that "no one is trying to ignore sex. It's just that we need to talk about gender to understand how sex isn't as important as you think."

I repeatedly asked this friend to define gender. He consistently ignored the question before directing me to a dictionary. There is nothing in the dictionary that matches the way that gender is used here. The only synonym I can think of is "wish fulfillment":  "I would argue that much of what people enact- even if they feel very connected to their sex of birth-- is wish fulfillment." This is especially true of the number of males who feel very connected to their sex of birth still claiming to be trans. We're being asked to change laws and the definition of sex and woman for the sake of wish fulfillment. If you can't define the concept you think important why expect others to accept or take up the concept?

Women are not women because it's a social category they chose. They are women because they were born female children and matured to female adults. I'm not a man because I identify with a social category, but because I was born male. These qualities are encoded in our genes, even if we hate our own biology.

This constant use of immutable qualities in others to argue for trans ideology is disgusting. Yes, there are individual trans people who are marginalized, because they come from marginalized communities. But marginalized people don't have the power to force people to accept lies under threat of losing employment. 

After losing Twitter accounts to mass reporting for saying that sex is binary and immutable by males who swear they are now female, I must note that this is just projection. I take those people at their word that they believe they are women. It doesn't mean they actually are despite enacting wish fulfillment. If gender creates the condition for people to declare their sex different on the basis of declaration, there's no reason to believe in it. The impact on reality of this magic word is no different from any other.

Here, my friend is troubled by what he thinks, not by what I'm doing. Men were responsible for 99% of sexual assaults without the legal access to women's spaces now granted. He assumes that the reporting of incidents is accurate, despite the historic under-reporting of sexual assault, exposure, and voyeurism. Let's take as true that transwomen are no more likely to perpetrate assaults than anyone else, despite over half of trans identified UK inmates being incarcerated for rape and sexual assault. It would also be true that identifying as trans doesn't make them any less likely to perpetrate assault than any other male. For all of the scaremongering gay men experienced, it was never based on their desire to be in women's single sex spaces. Putting that aside, in the few studies to look at the impact of making spaces unisex there has been a negative impact on the women and children in those spaces. He says that the rate of incidence is low, but I wonder at what rate of incidence do males assaulting females in formerly single sex single sex spaces become significant enough for concern. 

There was a recent viral event of a male exposing himself in the women's area of Wi Spa in Los Angeles and one woman loudly protesting. It seems that her Instagram account has been suspended along with numerous accounts sharing her video on Twitter. This is what always happens when there is a viral event which shows marginalized people in a bad light, monopoly platforms step in to protect them.

I find the accusation of being anti-trans rights to be especially deceptive. When you ask what right trans people lack it amounts to external validation, the right to be seen as they wish, as the sex they identify with. This is not a right, as an expectation, it's just narcissism. What does a person born male saying that he is a woman know about being female?

It's not arrogant to suggest that people declaring themselves the opposite sex are enacting stereotypes. Gender ideology is based on sex stereotypes. What necessitates transitioning through exogenous hormones and cosmetic surgery to live authentically? What does that even mean?

 There is an assumption that medical transition represents best medical practice rather than something that should be limited. Gatekeeping in the past was conducted to ensure that men didn't transition for easier access to women and children, and to ensure that psychological comorbidities were addressed. As a result of gatekeeping the rate of regret leading to detransition was below 1%. An important aspect of gender affirmation therapy, aside from the lack of gatekeeping, is that it's based on the self diagnosis of the distressed individual. To the degree that there is research on the efficacy of treatment, especially with children, it's based on a model using gatekeeping and evaluation by a medical professional. The only long-term study of post transition transsexuals conducted in Sweden found that they were 19 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population. So when my friend suggests that I'm ignoring the medical evidence for transition, I'm confused.

If post transition suicide rates remain so high what does that suggest about the evidence for transition? The fact is that there is no evidence to support any aspect of transition improving mental functioning, whether puberty blockers, hormones or cosmetic surgery. What are the health risks for not transitioning?

The process for adolescents begins with an off book use of a chemical castration drug to stop the critical developmental stage most likely to help the child grow out of their dysphoria, puberty. All of the long term impacts of skipping puberty are unknown. Along with smaller stature, missed cognitive development, and lower bone density, the most likely impact is adult infertility. This impact led judges in a UK court case against the Tavistock gender clinic to conclude that children could not possibly give informed consent. It's worth asking if for children, diagnosing themselves, the cure is worse than the illness.

When my friend suggests that I'm ignoring evidence, he misses that the evidence supporting gender affirmation is low. In fact, an international panel evaluating clinical practice guidelines found gender affirmation to have the lowest evidentiary support. Zero of the six panelists would recommend the WPATH guidelines, only one would recommend the guidelines promoted by The Endocrine Society supported by every major US medical association. My friend trusts those medical associations more than he trusts my ability to understand what I read.

The long email ended with 4 questions, which was the primary aspect of the email I responded to so I'll briefly share them here:

I would suggest that people are generally unconcerned with the presence of transmen in men's spaces for the same reason they are an afterthought in trans activism. Sex matters and is immutable. 

The "existence of trans people" question is always idiotic. What I think doesn't erase or change someone's existence even if I'm against changing laws to validate them. But here he answers the question himself. Trans people are biological males or females approximating the opposite sex because of the psychological disorder of gender dysphoria or because they simply want to.

Sex is material. Sexual attraction is both observable and measurable. A man lying about being gay isn't legally included in women's single sex spaces.

This is what I find frustrating. For the people committed to gender ideology the issues I focus on are a small problem. I'm not sure what that means. For an individual detransitioning after making permanent bodily changes, I imagine it's a huge problem. For the families dealing with emotional hostage taking of the ideology, it's not a small issue. 

What all of this makes clear is that my friend, like so many advocates of the ideology, is unable to distinguish between the ideology and the people it converts. I have never said what trans people should or should not do. I have no wish to stand between people and their medical decisions. I don't care about identity separate from the people I care about. Stating the biological fact that sex is binary and immutable isn't anti-trans, unless itself reality is. Noting that there are male predators self identifying isn't anti-trans. Sharing the story of a detransitioner regretting his years on cross sex hormones isn't anti-trans. What advocates seem to miss, despite evidence to the effect, is that a growing number of detransitioners and a growing number of predators identifying into women's spaces will lead to a backlash against trans people and their actual needs. While he accuses me of saying concerning things about trans people, my friend is actually saying, "I don't like what you're saying about my ideology."


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