Sunday, May 7, 2017

What Does Gender Really Mean When It Comes to the Transgender Question?

Recently, my friend posted a meme on social media which depicted a person holding up a sign saying "My genitals do not define my gender". On the bottom half of the meme, the following statements were also made:
"My IQ does not define my intelligence."
"My physique doesn't define my fitness."
"My semen doesn't define my child."
"Go on. Make some more stupid cases."
While I thought the meme was a bit crude, I did think it got a valid point across. Another person made a comment, indicating that the view given in the meme was ignorant in his view. The discussion we had is below, with my words in blue and my interlocutor's in red. I think the discussion we had was cordial, as we both felt very differently on the subject, but it never devolved into ad hominem attacks or other insulting banter. I hope to go deeper into such a discussion in the future, but I'm thankful for the time my interlocutor took to engage me and the time they took to read my point of view. Our discussion follows the jump:
Creation of Adam- Michelangelo 

Words can take on different meanings and context especially based on interpretation of the reader. Clearly the intent of the word gender in this case is not referring to biological. This just ignores nuance because of ignorance, disdain, or apathy to understand the transgender community.

Nicholas: Ridiculous. It ignores nothing. Maybe the word "stupid" is harsh sounding to many people today, but this short meme simply points out how illogical the signholder's claim is. I assure you, I have no disdain or apathy towards those who are transgender, nor am I ignorant of their arguments as I've had great conversations with those who identify as such. I (and many, many others) have simply come to the conclusion that transgender ideology is illogical and contradicts itself.

There are certain things that make a woman distinct from a man. Those distinctions are biological.
There are certain things that make a man distinct from a woman. Those distinctions are also biological. To say otherwise denies reality. Look at the definition you quoted:
"Either of the two sexes (male and female), especially when considered with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones."
OK, so what are these "social or cultural" characteristics that any person of either sex could feel that could make them subjectively determine they are "male" or "female"?

"Words can take on different meanings and context especially based on interpretation of the reader."

Really? You, and a lot of other people in our culture for that matter, sound just like Humpty Dumpty:
"I don't know what you mean by 'glory'," Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. "Of course you don't- till I tell you. I meant 'there's a nice knock-down argument for you!'"
"But 'glory' doesn't mean 'a nice knock-down argument'," Alice objected.
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean- neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master-that's all."
And for the record, Monty Python called out the absurdity of the signholder's claim years ago, especially from 0:38 onward [in this video].

Tom:  Did you miss the very important part of social and cultural differences rather then biological ones? No ones arguing the biology here, not even the person holding the sign. I guess you know better then the person holding the sign what they mean though.

"I (and many, many others) have simply come to the conclusion that transgender ideology is illogical and contradicts itself."

Sounds like ignorance and apathy towards finding an understanding to me. From the very link I provided:
Usage- The word gender has been used since the 14th century as a grammatical term, referring to classes of noun designated as masculine, feminine, or neuter in some languages. The sense denoting biological sex has also been used since the 14th century, but this did not become common until the mid 20th century. Although the words gender and sex are often used interchangeably, they have slightly different connotations; sex tends to refer to biological differences, while gender more often refers to cultural and social differences and sometimes encompasses a broader range of identities than the binary of male and female.
So tell me, if a woman is not able to have children because of medical reasons, is she no longer a women?

Virtue and Nobility Putting Ignorance to Flight- Giovanni Tiepolo
Nicholas: "Did you miss the very important part of social and cultural differences rather then biological ones?"

I didn't, but you completely ignored the question I asked you and missed the point I was making. Any differences between the sexes that are not biological are arbitrary.

"Sounds like ignorance and apathy towards finding an understanding to me."

Sorry it sounds that way to your ears, but you're mistaken. I can fire right back at you and say that you are ignorant of the time, study, and conversations I've had with transitioning adults on this subject. If I were apathetic, I wouldn't dialogue with those that are directly affected by GID or gender dysphoria. I've kept an open mind and weighed both arguments over the years; I've reached a conclusion. I assume you have too. If I am truly "ignorant" as you "ignorantly" claim, I would hope you'd show me my error.

"if a woman is not able to have children because of medical reasons, is she no longer a women?"

Of course she is still a woman. If she's no longer able to have children because uterine or cervical cancer necessitated a hysterectomy, what we have is a defect from the norm. Sterility doesn't alter what the norm is, that is, the ability for women to gestate and deliver a child. So to say, for instance, that a man can have a uterus (like that famous person on Oprah) is an oxymoron.

I've answered your questions, and read the full definition you provided several times over. Please answer my previous question:

So what are these "social or cultural" characteristics that any of the 7 billion+ persons that walk this earth, of either sex, could feel that could make them subjectively determine they are "male" or "female"?

Tom: You act as if society doesn't impose certain social or cultural behavior on people based on sex. Is a pink a girl color or blue or boy color? Are tongue piercings, belly button piercings, tattoos right above your ass seen as masculine? Are dresses not feminine? Is crying and expressing oneself as a male considered manly behavior? Not that long ago a woman couldn't even legally refuse sex from her husband. There are clearly implications that go along with being born a certain sex. On top of that, I don't need to understand why a transgendered person feels the way they do, to accept their desire to be who they feel they are.

I also obviously realize that even not being able to produce children as a woman doesn't mean you are not one. The point is that it's more then just biology.

Another words, just because I have a penis doesn't mean I can't identify with what it is to be a woman and feel like that is who I should be, or vice versa. The sign reads gender, not sex. There is a difference.

Nicholas: Thanks for defining terms. First, I do not act as if society doesn't impose certain social or cultural behavior on people based on sex. I agree wholeheartedly with the assessments you’ve made; I simply wanted to know how you defined those “social or cultural characteristics”.

Now, the difference between “gender” and “sex” is this: 

It’s one that has been artificially constructed out of an ideology that a man with a penis, testes, secondary sex characteristics (such as facial hair), and DNA that is exclusively male can declare that he is a female at any point in his life. Not to mention, that same man can then reassert his masculinity the next day, and a week later can decide he is male again. This is what “gender fluidity” is, no? What you’ve described is what feminists call “gender essentialism”, which means the paragon of masculinity and femininity is dictated by Barbie and Ken.

Now I had many cousins and friends who were tomboys or maybe were a little effeminate growing up. I myself remember forgoing playing with action figures and played with Barbies. I liked the pink Easy Bake Ovens my cousins had and would rather play with that and pretend I was making dinner when we played “house”. I often get very emotional, especially with my children, and have been told that I nurture my children more than some women might. Does this mean I should transition to being a female, and declare to everyone that I am a female and command them to use the proper pronouns when addressing me? Of course not.

You might remember the story of Avery some months backIt’s the story of a seven year old boy who told his mom when he was four years old “You know I’m a girl, right?” Now this fantasy has taken center stage, and the family is fine with addressing Avery as a boy. In one of the videos on that HuffPo article, the mom talks about her son has reached this decision to become a girl because he associates certain things with being a girl. In the speech, there’s lots of talk about dresses being worn and nightgowns and girls underwear. But nowhere do we hear about how the boy expressed a desire for menstrual cycles, a less sturdy physique and bone density, lactating breasts, or the capability to have children through having uterus. All these are integral to being a female… but it would seem that all that was in this boy’s mind regarding girls were pink things, clothes, and wanting his penis to disappear because it was "in the way”. Only the superficial social constructs matter. Why can’t someone like to wear pink nightgowns and still remain female? Drag queens do this all the time, but they don’t mutilate their genitals or pump artificial hormones into their body.
Ecce Homo (Behold the Man)- Cigoli

Here’s the thing. What is it to be a woman? What is it to be a man? What do these terms actually mean? Obviously, according to transgender ideologues, those two things can be defined in any sort of way, just as Humpty Dumpty said:  “When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean!” Apparently, there’s no objective definition. That’s where moral relativity gets us; a rejection of the absolute. There is no “truth”, only “my own truth”. Isn’t this why Facebook has, what, 53 types of “gender”? So how can someone identify as something (like a woman) without there being an objective definition in the first place? As I showed above, dresses, colors, and tramp stamps aren’t indicators of whether one is male or female.

Keep in mind too, when someone transitions, like Bruce Jenner, that person no longer says “I am biologically a man, but internally and truly, I am a woman.” No, they say, “I am a woman”. No qualifications at all. That’s why Jenner won the Woman of the Year award at the ESPYs, right? He declared that he was a woman through and through, not just his gender, but his entire substance and identity. So why does the mental feeling of womanhood override what growth is happening (and is reflected) both outside the body and inside the body? A lot of us act as if the body is a and the physical without ignoring the other, and it seems all too common today that the physical signs of sex and gender are ignored and a higher premium is placed on what is emotionally and mentally felt and what surgical alterations (or plainly, mutilations) may have been made to the body. And when little boys like Avery start to become victims to this ideology, that’s when I can stand by on the sidelines no longer. His parents have already confirmed they will pump their son with hormones in an effort to block the natural effects of puberty. They are leaving the door open to mutilating his genitals once Avery grows older, or to put it in a happy euphemism “gender reassignment surgery”. And Avery is far from an isolated case in the transgender world. The insanity has to stop, and it begins by rejecting the idea that one has the ability to simply declare they are male or female, and that we all have to go along with the delusion. Gender and sex need not be pitted against each other as we’ve seen in recent decades.

Jo: I don't wear make up. I don't wear dresses. I don't wear heels. I identify with sturdy lead characters in film, which are typically male. I wish i had broad shoulders and narrow hips and smaller boobs. I would cut my hair short like a guy if my hips weren't so wide and my face so narrow. Physically i wish i was more masculine. 
I'm married to a man and pregnant with my first child. Am I a man or woman?

Tom:  Someone can be transgender and not mutilate themselves, as well as someone can desire masculine features and not desire to be a man. Doesn't change the context of the message. I'm not arguing the complexity of the situation, especially when it comes to children, or that genetically even if they alter themselves that they will still genetically be the sex they were born, but many of those exterior biological markers will have obviously been altered.

The comments below the message are made with purposeful derision.

Harry: Ok, so I've read all the comments thus far.
Tom, simple and easy explanation. Nicholas is asking you what "IN YOUR OPINION" these characteristics are.

So what are these "social or cultural" characteristics that any of the 7 billion+ persons that walk this earth, of either sex, could feel that could make them subjectively determine they are "male" or "female"?

Because my friend wants to know how you came to that conclusion because he obviously hasn't.... BUT instead of saying "oh the way I reached that conclusion is ..." You proceed to ignore his question each time and insult his right to percieve differently. Even though every time he concedes that your opinions have merit and thanks you for them.... 

So for the second time in my post, can you explain YOUR definitions on what the characteristics that are talked about are...

Also you ignored my friend Jo too. Which is extremely rude.

Tom: I did give answers, maybe not the ones you all wanted, since I don't see these things as arbitrary. Your friend Victoria, ask me, what I took as a rhetorical question, trying to lead the conversation right back to biological. It's a pointless conversation that is not going to go anywhere between us.

Nicholas: In fairness, Harry, Tom did answer my original question on what these characteristics are. But I'd like to go deeper than that, which is why I now ask what is it to be a woman, and what is it to be a man?

Earlier, I was asked "if a woman is not able to have children because of medical reasons, is she no longer a women?" Another way I could've answered this question could've been this:

Are we assuming this hypothetical person's gender? I thought that (if we're being consistent) men could have uteruses and vaginas, no? So in phrasing the question this way, "is this person no longer a woman", it would seem that even you, Tom, are assuming that being a woman is a prerequisite for gestating and delivering a baby. That there is some sort of objective definition out there instead of the nebulous explanations we get from transgender ideologues.
Sacred Heart of Jesus- Pompeo Batoni

"Someone can be transgender and not mutilate themselves, as well as someone can desire masculine features and not desire to be a man."

Yes, this can be so. People like RuPaul haven't removed their penis. But in the context of the signholder's message, it presents an absurdity. That person, no doubt, says that "I am male" or "I am female". No distinctions between the biological or the mental feelings. No distinction of so called "gender" and sex. 

What I find disturbing is that we are all to play along with the charade of these people we should be helping, and are instead commanded (by NY state law, for example) to use "proper" pronouns and whatnot. To say, for example, that Thomas Beatie (the pregnant "man" from Oprah) is a man is ridiculous. It should not be difficult or complex to say that Beatie is a woman because only women can give birth to babies. Her DNA did not change when she started growing facial hair. Her DNA did not change when she had a double masectomy. Her DNA did not change when she declared that she was a man. Pregnant "men" are objectively women. Something about giving birth is an objective trait that females share, and if that indicator is a biological one, so be it. The other characteristics you provided me can be shared between tomboys and transvestites as well. I have yet to be shown a social or cultural characteristic that leads to a distinction between tomboys and transgender people. Pretending otherwise by appealing to the made up distinction of "gender" and "sex" will harm our children, as it is Avery and Jazz from the TLC series.

There is something very wrong when a child wants to remove a part of their body. It is not normal for any child, let alone any human, to desire that a perfectly functioning organ of their body be removed. The fact that Avery's's parents had to hide all the knives and scissors in the house to make sure he did not remove his genitalia speaks volumes. Obviously, this is not all people who are transgender. However, studies show that 41% of the transgender population has attempted suicide, vastly higher compared to the general population of the US where 4.6% of the general population has attempted suicide. 

And this disparity can't simply be chalked up to discrimination. Even when loved and affirmed, even after going under surgery, these transgender people still attempt suicide, showing there are issues that run much deeper than being accepted. It also shows buying into delusions is not an effective way to stop these feelings of suicide.

So while I agree that the meme posted was less than charitable, it doesn't necessarily mean the authors were apathetic. It can be seen as a wake up call. Again, for the record, I am not apathetic, and I truly hope more studies are done so we can help people in these situations, and I mean really help them, instead of going along with their fantasies as we would with the Emperor who received his "new clothes":
"Everyone in the streets and the windows said, 'Oh, how fine are the Emperor's new clothes! Don't they fit him to perfection? And see his long train!' 
"'But he hasn't got anything on!' a little child said."
That we may all have the guts this little kid has.

Tom: I'm not going to go down the rabbit hole further with you, I know nothing will come of it, but I will say, I believe you are sincere.

Nicholas: Thank you Tom. I hope at some point we can go further, because I think it could bear fruit. I'm definitely not expecting anyone to change their views in the course of a night, but it can be productive to exchange points of view. If you ever want to discuss things further in the future, I'm always open to that.

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