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  #21  
Old 03 February 2019, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
Some people want to be able to be, for a period of time, in a physical space in which they'll meet only other women (or, for some people, only men); and some of them don't want to encounter a penis in an all-female space[...]
I understand the need for female/male only spaces. But most of those spaces would never involve actually seeing other people's bits and bobs. The only example I can think of is with public showers, but even then the anxiety isn't about other people's bodies being exactly the same (otherwise we might as well require older women's showers or fat women's showers or even hairy women's showers) but in not being judged for the body you do have. In which case, the transgender person is the most vulnerable and not the cisgender people they are showering with. If a transwoman is confident enough to shower in a women's communal shower then the ciswomen have no reason to feel insecure about it: they're not the ones liable to be judged or 'othered'.

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[...]or a person much of whose life experience has been of being perceived as male.
Now there's the more complex argument. But in my opinion even that is not based in any kind of shared female experience but in the knee-jerk assumptions of individual women. After all, no two women have the same life experience. No one woman can be called 'more womanly' than another on the basis of her life experience. My own experience as a woman possibly includes less discrimination than certain men fighting for women's rights in more sexist parts of the world. Does that make those men more woman than me, due to receiving more hostility as a result of sexism? Does it make me a man if, for example, I've never been catcalled by construction workers? I've not been privy to the sexism experienced by, say, more attractive women. They've not experienced the sexism experienced by me as an uglier woman, either. A transwoman is likely to have unique problems relating to sexism, just as women of colour are likely to face unique sexism that white women don't experience. Womanhood doesn't come with a checklist of women's issues because those issues vary. Specific oppression doesn't make us women. It grants too much power to our oppressors to say that the way in which we're oppressed determines whether we're women or not.

I know I'd never trade other people's perception of me as a woman for the shaky 'privilege' of living in the shadows, the girl in the boy's locker room, because that position is more precarious than being overtly a girl. It's the position of being a spy in the camp: you're only as safe as your silence allows. People of ambiguous race are put in the same shaky position when they are subjected to derogatory comments about their own heritage.
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  #22  
Old 04 February 2019, 01:44 AM
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Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
Yeah, a lot of what they do is actually working to enforce rigid gender roles rather than combat them.

It reminds me of the pigs in Animal Farm, specifically the line about "we could let you make your own choices, but then you might make the wrong choices so we'll make the choices for you."

Quite a bit I've seen from such people does indicate a worldview that women really are silly and foolish and therefore must be guided by a wiser person who can make all the right choices for them.
And these FARTs or TERFs will quite happily ally themselves with the Christian Right, so they can better shit on trans people. Most would call that pretty damn reprehensible, feminists conspiring with people whose philosophy centers around shitting on women so they may have greater strength in numbers to better shit on a group of people they've deemed deserving of abuse.
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  #23  
Old 04 February 2019, 01:34 PM
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I will say that at one time I believed the theory that if we eliminated artificial gender distinctions between men and women -- so that men could behave in a completely feminine manner, or women in a completely masculine one, and no one would even question it - that the whole idea of being transgender would fade away. I no longer think that: I think there is something more fundamental at work in the brain (or somewhere) that drives some people to consider their gender identity to be different than the sex they were assigned at birth.
I think you were correct in your initial belief, but not for the way you think. If artificial gender distinctions did not exist, there would not be transgender people because there wouldn't be any divide to cross. There would still be people whose sense of self did not match their biology, but transgender exists because of the size and scope of the divide. We don't talk about the rights of transchromic people because some people don't like their biological hair color. There's no extensive process that brunettes have to go through before they can dye their hair and get a new driver's licence that has blonde listed as hair color.

(Obviously gender identity is more intense than hair color, but the principle of one being easy to change because there are much less rigid separations by hair color is the point.)
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  #24  
Old 04 February 2019, 07:59 PM
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Interesting thoughts all around.

One question that comes up for me (and has no good answer) is the question of transfolk when it comes to athletics. Unlike most forms of gender discrimination, there are valid reasons why men and women compete separately in most sports. And as much as a transwoman may feel herself to have been born a woman, there are some physical differences that she can't help that would give her a competitive advantage in some sports (and a disadvantage in a few, I think). At the same time, I can understand her not wanting to compete with men -- and, after some time on HRT, that competition might be unfair in the other direction. But what do you do? Bar them from competitive athletics altogether? Only let her compete with other transwomen? (Similar but somewhat reversed conditions apply to transmen, naturally.)

I don't really know if there's a way to be fair both to her and to the other athletes involved. (At least until/unless the technology exists for some kind of complete physical transformation.)


I can't entirely blame some women -- feminist or not, lesbian or not -- for feeling there is some barrier between their experiences and those of transwomen. (Just as there are some things transwomen go through that cisgendered women never do.) When they start seeing it as a kind of invasion, though (and particularly the fringe -- hopefully small -- who actually see it as a conspiracy; I don't know if that gets talked about any more, but it certainly existed in the past), then I have to question where they're coming from.

And I will admit I was a bit puzzled at the article's talk about how eliminating/blurring gender lines threatens gay or lesbian identity. Look, no one is saying that anyone has to take any other particular individual as a lover; so if a gay man finds a transman an unsuitable partner in part because of the lack of a real penis (or perhaps for somewhat more spiritual reasons), that's his privilege. And of course the problem for transfolk of whether they have a responsibility to reveal that status to a potential partner -- and if so, when -- is a pretty thorny one. But saying that it somehow invalidates your identity as a gay man strikes me as being somewhat analogous to the hetero people who claim that same-sex marriages somehow make their own less meaningful.
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  #25  
Old 04 February 2019, 10:08 PM
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Blatherskite, I think that's a really good point about people's experiences being different in lots of ways. Why pick on that particular one?

E. Q. Taft, from what I've read elsewhere, it's my understanding that people who have completed physical transistion have physical abilities closer to the gender they've transitioned to than to the one they've transitioned from. A lot of the issues of muscle mass etc. are hormonal; and I would think the setback to the body of having surgeries, even if it's temporary, is going to have a significant effect on an athletic career; which might make up for differences in, say, hip structure, which are more important for some sports than others.

Not everyone transitions physically, of course. But for professional and upper level amateur sports, at least, it might be a reasonable compromise to say that trans women who want to compete as women would have to do so.

And I agree that I was confounded about the article's claim that the existence of trans people and of fluid gender people casts doubt on the existence of homosexuality. If there is any logic behind that, and not just an attempt to divide-and-conquer, I don't follow it.



-- GenYus, rather as an aside: I remember being massively puzzled as a child that people who went on about differences in skin color didn't seem in the least bothered by differences in hair color. Why should it be a big deal if black people and white people had kids together who came out brown, I wondered, when nobody seemed to think it was a problem when blond people and black-haired people had kids together and the children had brown hair?
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  #26  
Old 04 February 2019, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by E. Q. Taft View Post
I can't entirely blame some women -- feminist or not, lesbian or not -- for feeling there is some barrier between their experiences and those of transwomen.
The problem is that there are also barriers between the experiences of different ciswomen. But they're generally not seen (any more) as valid reasons to question their womanhood.
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  #27  
Old 05 February 2019, 12:36 AM
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E. Q's comments on transwomen competing in athletics with ciswomen reminded me of the controversy about Ru Paul and a statement that he made about probably not allowing surgically transitioned women to compete on Drag Race.

Transgender women on Drag Race? Ru Paul's remarks spawn backlash.

Morning
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  #28  
Old 05 February 2019, 05:45 PM
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The problem is that there are also barriers between the experiences of different ciswomen. But they're generally not seen (any more) as valid reasons to question their womanhood.
True, though I seem to recall some stories a year or two back about the question of how inclusive/supportive the feminist movement was being of women of color.
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  #29  
Old 05 February 2019, 06:13 PM
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True, though I seem to recall some stories a year or two back about the question of how inclusive/supportive the feminist movement was being of women of color.
I'm pretty sure that's been an issue, and a point of controversy, pretty much all the way through the movement; certainly for more than just a year or two back.

Slavery abolitionists and the early USA women's rights movement had disagreements about whether to prioritize one or try to work simultaneously on both; and both groups had members who didn't favor the other cause.
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  #30  
Old 08 February 2019, 06:40 AM
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I think this is an essay that deceptively tries to seem "reasonable" when really it is an attempt to sow confusion and try to make transgenderism seem anti-feminist. It's a trap!

Nature article on how Sex is beyond gonads or chromosomes:

https://www.nature.com/news/sex-redefined-1.16943

This article has embedded links that cover some of the sexual variations.

https://mashable.com/article/gender-.../#56D.48KQnPqp

Contrapoints "Are Traps Gay?" (a transwoman's perspective - funny and on point) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbBzhqJK3bg

There seem to be some studies that seem to indicate that transgender brains have more similarities to the gender that they identify. This study does make me feel weird as a woman since people often want to use brain differences as a reason why women are not suited to things that are deemed "non-feminine."

https://www.scientificamerican.com/a...sgender-brain/

However, I think what it is trying to support is trusting people's perceptions of their own gender instead of inspecting their gonads.
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  #31  
Old 08 February 2019, 06:29 PM
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The issue is biologically, there are observable differences between male and female brains. But gender roles are societal and subject to change.

Weaving, for example, used ot be something only men could do. Brewing beer and computer programming both were considered a woman's work at one point. People confuse social gender roles with biological determinism. The fact that some people use bad science to justify their prejudices shouldn't prevent good science.
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  #32  
Old 08 February 2019, 06:50 PM
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There seem to be some studies that seem to indicate that transgender brains have more similarities to the gender that they identify. This study does make me feel weird as a woman since people often want to use brain differences as a reason why women are not suited to things that are deemed "non-feminine."
There was a theory I read about a couple of years back that definitely interested me. Usually, transfolk -- before starting any kind of hormone therapy -- have a more-or-less normal hormone balance for people of their birth/genetic sex. However, it's believed that male and female brains react differently to the same hormones -- i.e., the effect of estrogen on a male brain isn't quite the same as that on a female brain. So, in the transperson, the hormone balance is "normal" for the body, but feels wrong to the brain.

The reason I am attracted to this theory is that I have read accounts from transpeople that they often grow up feeling confused and uncertain about many things -- but once they start on HRT, and the hormone balance becomes what the brain thinks it ought to be, things just seem to clarify for them.

Unfortunately, from what I read at the time, anyway, there really isn't a good way to test this theory.

(If this theory is correct, I suspect that just about every brain has a mix of some "male" and some "female" receptors, but a large majority match the genetic sex in most people. For those like myself, who have some gender disconnect but aren't really transgendered, perhaps I have a larger share of "female' receptors than most men, but nowhere near as many as a woman, trans or otherwise. ...or, there could be any number of other explanations, of course.)
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  #33  
Old 08 February 2019, 06:54 PM
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[eta: replying to crocoduck_hunter.] Aren't those "observable differences" also a matter of variations within a considerable range, with a great deal of overlap? that is, if you average all the men and all the women tested, there are differences, but any specific male or female may be over on what's supposed to be the other side of the range for any specific difference, even if the individual's identifying as entirely cis?

I'm not well up on neurological science; that's a genuine question. But what little I've actually seen on it that went into any detail seemed to be like that.
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  #34  
Old 08 February 2019, 09:49 PM
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I'm not very up-to-date on it, but my understanding was that the overlap among individuals who identify as cisgender isn't very strong, where as individuals who identify as trans overlap significantly.
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  #35  
Old 08 February 2019, 10:08 PM
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To what is the biological difference in brains attributed? Is there a claim that it is "nature" rather than "nurture"? If so, how was that determined, and, as TL asked, is it an overlapping, on average difference?
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  #36  
Old 08 February 2019, 10:33 PM
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Given the findings regarding trans vs cis brains I'm pretty sure that it's considered nature- it's a physical difference in brain structure. I don't have time to look it up right now.
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  #37  
Old 09 February 2019, 12:44 AM
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Physical differences don't have to be driven by innate processes.
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  #38  
Old 09 February 2019, 02:29 AM
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I'm not very up-to-date on it, but my understanding was that the overlap among individuals who identify as cisgender isn't very strong, where as individuals who identify as trans overlap significantly.
On average? or again, what's the range?

Has anybody got any actual studies, and/or decent articles on the subject? -- never mind, here's some. These were gathered rapidly, I don't know whether they're a fair selection; and I haven't read them very thoroughly; but:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/a...ex-differences

Quote:
Biological predisposition to develop a masculine or feminine psychology in no way implies that men's and women's psychologies form a simple binary; the overlap in distribution of men's and women's traits refutes such dichotomous thinking. Nor does the existence of biological predispositions mean that sex differences are fixed and unchangeable after birth—a kind of genetically deterministic thinking. Nearly all biological mechanisms that have arisen over the course of history have been designed to be responsive to key elements in the environment, developmentally sensitive to features of family, social structures, and local ecologies. And the input from the environment almost always affects the degree of sexual differentiation.
http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/...-men-and-women

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Despite the study’s consistent sex-linked patterns, the researchers also found considerable overlap between men and women in brain volume and cortical thickness, just as you might find in height. In other words, just by looking at the brain scan, or height, of someone plucked at random from the study, researchers would be hard pressed to say whether it came from a man or woman. That suggests both sexes’ brains are far more similar than they are different.

The study didn’t account for whether participants’ gender matched their biological designation as male or female.
The study referred to, I think:
https://academic.oup.com/cercor/arti...8/2959/4996558
and from the abstract at the beginning of that study:
Quote:
There was considerable distributional overlap between the sexes.


And here's one pointing out further complications:
https://royalsocietypublishing.org/d...rstb.2015.0451

Quote:
Joel and colleagues [55] recently attempted to answer exactly this question using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). They analysed volume, cortical thickness, diffusion anisotropy or connectivity in over 1400 human brains from four datasets. In each dataset, they identified a subset of between 7 and 12 brain regions (or connections) that mostly differed between the sexes, and determined for each brain whether the form of each of these regions was at the side of the distribution where females were more prevalent than males (‘female-end’) or at the side of the distribution where males were more prevalent than females (‘male-end’). They found that regardless of the sample, age, type of magnetic resonance imaging, method of analysis, and exact definition of the ‘male-end’ and ‘female-end’ zones, brains that had at least one region with a ‘male-end’ score and one region with a ‘female-end’ score (a condition they have termed substantial variability) were more prevalent than brains that had only ‘male-end’ or only ‘female-end’ scores. For example, defining the ‘male-end’ and ‘female-end’ zones as the scores of the 33% most extreme males and females, respectively, between 23 and 53% of brains (depending on the sample) had at least one region with a ‘male-end’ score and one region with a ‘female-end’ score, whereas the percentage of brains with all ‘male-end’ or all ‘female-end’ scores was between 0 and 8% [55].
-- Relating all of this to people's perception of their own gender would I'd think require a fairly large sample; and to get a fairly large sample of trans people you'd need a very large sample overall. But I still say you'd have to distinguish the averages from the range in order to really be able to say anything about any specific individual.

There do seem to be people trying to do the work -- when I add trans and cis to my search, I get a batch of articles. But a lot of them seem to be working with small samples, and a glance at a few of them leaves me with the impression that they're comparing to average "male" and "female" brains, without accounting for either range or variability within the individual brain as to the mix of which traits fall towards which end of the line.

This is really work just getting started -- we may get some answers out of it eventually, but I expect it's going to take a while.


ETA: the more I look at that last cite, the more fascinating I find it. Cultural assignment of colors aside, it seems to account best for the people who want to fix the tractor and wear frilly pink dresses (if not at the same exact time.) And I think that if given the chance there are a whole lot of such people.

Last edited by thorny locust; 09 February 2019 at 02:44 AM.
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  #39  
Old 09 February 2019, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
There do seem to be people trying to do the work -- when I add trans and cis to my search, I get a batch of articles. But a lot of them seem to be working with small samples, and a glance at a few of them leaves me with the impression that they're comparing to average "male" and "female" brains, without accounting for either range or variability within the individual brain as to the mix of which traits fall towards which end of the line.

This is really work just getting started -- we may get some answers out of it eventually, but I expect it's going to take a while.
I'm
ETA: the more I look at that last cite, the more fascinating I find it. Cultural assignment of colors aside, it seems to account best for the people who want to fix the tractor and wear frilly pink dresses (if not at the same exact time.) And I think that if given the chance there are a whole lot of such people.
If that is an accurate assessment of the research that is specifically addressing trans questions, it's exactly what I meant about how it can sometimes result in a sort of polarized view, or in some ways a more rigid view of sex and/or gender.

And it may be necessary in some senses to do that in order to isolate the particular question being addressed, but that is what I meant when I said it can feel like working at cross purposes sometimes. In my view, any research, or any article, that talks about sex-linked differences that does not quantify them and explain how much variation and overlap there is in the area in question is actively causing problems.
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  #40  
Old 10 February 2019, 04:09 AM
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I don't know whether it's an accurate assessment; I didn't have time to research enough articles to tell whether my first sampling was a good one, or even to read all the ones I found in great detail.

I agree, both that in order to study something (in any field) it's often necessary to start by simplifying it, and that researchers should be clear that that's what they're doing when they do need to so simplify. It's all too easy to assume that the simplified model is accurate and can be extrapolated to situations in the field, when in practice things often don't work that way at all. And such assumptions, as you say, often cause problems.
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