Reactions to views about transsexuality and race

June 23, 2021 • 9:20 am

Although I’ve made clear that I’m in favor of civil rights for minority ethnic groups as well as transgender rights, I’ve also been critical of some of the tenets that pass for dogma in both the transsexual “affirmation” community (those who see a transsexual woman, for instance, as equivalent to a biological woman in every respect, including in sports and in women’s prisons), as well as in the Critical Race Theory (CRT) community (I’ve criticized the elimination of meritocratic measures that might hinder “equity”, as well as the constant demonization of white people and the characterization of various traits, like punctuality, as “white” rather than “black”).

I knew that holding such positions would get me called an alt-righter, a racist, and a transphobe. And indeed, that has happened, though, thankfully, less often than I expected. And I deny being any of those things.

But what has surprised me is the relative amount of pushback I get from the transsexual community versus from the community adhering to CRT or Kendi-an dogma.  I would have expected far more pushback on race given its hegemony in the national discourse, and the fact that there are far more blacks than transsexuals, which would seem to imply much more demonization of perceived “anti-antiracists” than of “transphobes”.

And yet there’s no doubt that when I question whether transsexual women who have undergone no medical intervention should compete in women’s sports, or tell people to read Abigail Shrier’s book, I get far more pushback than when I agree with something that John McWhorter or Glenn Loury says.  The pushback comes partly in the form of blog comments (including the really nasty ones that I don’t put up), as well as personal emails and comments in my Twitter feed. (I tend to not read Twitter comments but sometimes can’t resist.)

In other words, there’s something about criticizing transsexual dogma that seems to raise people’s hackles far higher than criticizing some assertions of Ibram Kendi, Robin DiAngelo, or Critical Race Theory.

Now there’s room for pushback from all sides, as no one issue has to completely dominate political and ideological discourse. But I’m surprised at the greater rancor attending those who raise questions about transsexual issues than about racial issues—at least when it comes to me. Another friend I discussed this with sees the same disparity. A staff lawyer for the ACLU, for instance, has called for the banning of Abigail Shrier’s book on gender dysphoria, but nobody on the ACLU, at least as far as I know, has called for any book on race to be banned.

My question is this: why the disparity? Why are critics of so-called “transphobes” so much more rancorous than critics of Kendi or CRT? Is this just my own personal experience and not a general observation? And if it is general, why, given the relative number of people involved in both issues, why? Is there something about transsexuality that makes its advocates especially defensive or offensive?

I can’t think of a reason, so I just thought I’d ask the readers.

100 thoughts on “Reactions to views about transsexuality and race

  1. I guess the obvious answer is misogyny. Transsexual ideology empowers white males (as if that group needed more power) as it gives them yet another weapon with which to silence, harass and denigrate females. Questioning ideology that elicits an often violent reaction.

    I’m absolutely not saying all or even most trans people are misogynist – but the vocal “trans-allies” who dish out abuse are almost always misogynists.

    I don’t think the same dynamic plays out with CRT where there does seem, at base, to be a genuine desire to help a historically underpowered group – even if the methods are sometimes counter-productive.

    1. Diotima, I agree. There is something about a male (including TW) being told “no, you aren’t welcome here (women’s sports/DV refuge/prison, etc)” especially by a female, that creates real rage in some men.

      1. An anecdote along these lines: Thirty years ago, or thereabouts, my then-partner and I attended the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. The annual event was conceived and publicized as being exclusively by women, for women. It involved camping on “womyn’s land” and attending womyn’s music performances, and doing your work shift, as the entire event was run on more or less collectivist lines. You didn’t have to be a radical lesbian separatist to attend, but the event organizer collective had decided that you did have to be a “woman-born woman.” That year [and possibly other years, too, idk], a group of transwomen activists organized a protest of the event, on the grounds that the decision was unacceptably exclusionary. The protest took the form of establishing a visible counter-encampment, outside the main festival area, for the duration of the festival.

        The question engendered intense controversy in the community involved. At the time, we also subscribed to a special interest newsletter that came out about monthly and covered issues of interest to “our community.” Following this particular festival, there were passionate letters to the editor about the question of whether trans women should or shouldn’t be permitted “on the land” in every single issue. A year later, the editors finally announced they were not going to print any more letters about this particular question. Not because they had stopped receiving letters, but because they realized that if they didn’t stop, the letters would keep arriving on indefinitely.

        That controversy, it seems to me, was entirely about who, specifically, has the authority to establish the kind of group boundary that says “we are us, and you are not,” and what grounds make that particular boundary legitimate. Everybody knew gender was political, but we didn’t know it was that political, until then.

    2. I agree with you except for the “white” in: “Transsexual ideology empowers white males (as if that group needed more power) as it gives them yet another weapon…” Here in South Africa most of the aggressive transsexual activists are not white (but also very ‘male’ in their aggressive activism. Yes, always trans-‘women’, never trans-‘men’).

      1. Very interesting theory. Could it be a most likely this is a hangover from their male days with testosterone and propensity for violence as a problem solver. Of course we now know that this is not possible since they are now women. Women as a whole don’t respond in this fashion so biology still isn’t real for these people.

  2. I am just talking off the top of my head — maybe it’s the TRANS part of race and gender that causes the offense and the violent reaction to it? Are people just as irritated by transracial issues as they are by transgender issues?

  3. Aren’t transexuals the newest addition to the LGBTQ, etc., queue? They think they have to fight harder to gain the kind of acceptance now shown to the others?

  4. My hypothesis is: The community of transsexual activists and their supporters is smaller and their activities do not have an extensive history with corresponding influence as those of the CRT community. For this reason, these people react to perceived transgressions far more loudly and aggressively.

    And one more point: Possibly already the use of the word “transsexual” in this context causes the uproar. Because the activists insist that the term “transgender” should be used.

    1. I agree with this. Basically, as a much smaller minority, with a shorter public history than many other groups, they no doubt feel that they have to be much more assertive/aggressive/defensive than many other groups, and they may have the honest feeling (rightly or wrongly) that they are less generally accepted. It’s a kind of overcompensation, coming from a FEELING of being more beleaguered. It doesn’t excuse some of the more unreasonable views and dogmas, but it can give one a bit of sympathy.

      In any case, when someone stoops to calling you names rather than dealing with the substance of your points, I consider that a forfeit on their part, or to put it another way, they are praising you with faint damnations.

      1. I agree with this, and would add a measure of ‘convert zeal’. I wonder too if there is an element of selection bias – people who read this website, people who spend a lot of time on the internet, people fighting for rights on the internet. I imagine people of color have better things to do than imagine Dr. Coyne is some kind of virulent racist. Because he’s clearly not.

      2. “…praising you with faint damnations.”–Love it, Robert! I’m going to steal this expression from you. 😉

      3. Yet, ironically, their being so extremely “assertive/aggressive/defensive” may play a role in their difficulty of getting accepted more widely.

    2. I think it’s both the transsexual community’s being smaller, and that there is still a level of vituperativeness and mockery directed against them in some quarters that hasn’t been tolerated in public fora against blacks since the Jim Crow era, understandably rendering them more sensitive to perceived slights.

  5. I see the same disparity. There are many reasonable explanations for the nature and causes of transgenderism, none of which say that trans-identified individuals are lying, stupid, perverted, disgusting, or sinful. Why then is only one theory about the nature and cause of transgenderism — Gender Identity Theory — considered not just true, but so obviously true that anyone promoting and supporting a different theory is necessarily motivated by hate and a desire to wound? Why is it supposed to be phobic to talk instead about the strong influence of childhood conditioning, social factors, trauma, and common psychological disorders or differences? A “phobia” should indicate more than disagreement on causes … and classifications.

    Bottom line, the fury directed against liberals comes down to one side placing a transwoman in the same category as “gay men, transvestites, and other men who don’t conform to gendered expectations “ — and the other side putting transwomen in with “black women, tall women, women with green eyes.” And no matter how much you approve and support that first class, it’s considered hateful to go against the wishes of those who insist they don’t belong there.

    The pushback you’re getting?Just off the top of my head, I’ll throw out some possibilities:

    Gender Identity Theory involves sweeping changes to common epistemic, metaphysical, and legal concepts, and theories which do this tend to be aggressive towards dissent. Heretics are often treated more harshly than outright infidels, therefore rational liberal objections can garner more frustration than conservative religious condemnations.

    GID couples transgenderism with both homosexuality and the civil rights movement, so that failure to acknowledge that “transwomen are women” and allow them access to all single-sex spaces is similar to being against gay marriage and having different bathrooms for “the colored.” It’s equally bigoted. Whereas the BLM movement focuses more on just racism.

    The popular claim that trans people will kill themselves if not validated does a lot of emotional work.

    The issue is framed as allowing people the right to Know Who They Are (self-diagnose) and live freely as their authentic self while harming no one and changing nothing. I suspect a lot of the vitriol comes from advocates defending this version of the issue.

    1. I think you are right about how the issue is typically framed, and since when are humans particularly good at self-diagnoses or being able to perceive what their authentic self is? Particularly adolescents? They commit a fallacy on the very first step.

    2. I note your comments about pushback and people tending to be aggressive towards dissent. I suggest there is also a ‘fashion’ element driving this. Historically some people have pushed their membership of the ‘in crowd’ (that dates me) by wearing uncomfortable clothing, holding radical views, consuming dangerous substances, listening to weird music or plays, and behaving in an extreme manner.

      Clearly if some people are going to risk their health for the sake of a fashion then others must be in the most horrid class of all – the unfashionable. They are beneath contempt for not taking fashion seriously.

  6. I am grateful you have received less than the expected amount of pushback. A bit surprised as well, really.
    I do think that trans women in prison should be placed in prison with biological women. The idea they’d be put in prison with men seems a terrible option for them. There should be considerable openness at least to consider this on a case by case basis. I’ve known a couple, and they are no threat to women while they are also incredibly vulnerable to the worst in men.

    1. Unfortunately, given the nature of Gender Identity Theory, it would not be possible to consider which transwoman merits a woman’s prison — and which does not — on a case-by-case basis. The claim is that transwomen are women, full stop. It can’t be negotiated piecemeal.

      Even “testosterone level” limitations in women’s sports will quite likely be thrown out eventually. Some Trans activists are complaining that it’s not fair that trans weight-lifter Laurel Hubbard — ‘assigned male at birth’ but born a woman — must have her natural hormones tinkered with. Given the theory, they are correct.

      1. “Even ‘testosterone level’ limitations in women’s sports will quite likely be thrown out eventually.”

        Which will be the death of womens’ sports.

        I know I don’t need to say this to you; but what I always say is: Why do you think there are womens’ and mens’ divisions in (essentially) every sport?

        Why languish as an unknown at number 200 or 500 in the world in the mens’ division when you can be on the top step of the podium in womens’? Especially since all you have to do is “say that you’re a woman”. Heck, you can just change your mind later, after the endorsement deals have paid off.

        Laurel Hubbard is 43 years old and is winning recent international competitions. Current men’s heavyweight Clean/Jerk record holder is: Lasha Talakhadze, aged 27. Late 20s is when most male athletes peak.

        Wait until the 26-year-old and 27-year-old trans(women) athletes start coming around,

        Note that there’s no controversy around trans men competing. Which puts the lie to the claims that going through puberty as a male doesn’t improve your athletic performance, even after transitioning. If any athlete was taking PEDs for 20 years, they’d have a lifetime ban from sport.

        1. Why languish as an unknown at number 200 or 500 in the world in the mens’ division when you can be on the top step of the podium in womens’?

          Because you’re honest?
          Sports has cheaters. No question about that. But just as the existence of Barry Bonds and Lance Armstrong aren’t an argument that every top athlete is a drug-user, the mere existence of a trans woman wanting to play in a woman’s league isn’t an argument that all trans women athletes are insincere and just doing it for the ranking.

          1. Of course. But the money is big and people devote their lives to excelling in sports. There’s TONS of cheating in sports — for the bucks, for the attention.

            This sort of cheating will be inevitable.

            And I didn’t say all trans women athletes are cheating. But just saying you are a woman and competing in the women’s division as a biological male is cheating on its face. It’s denial of biology and reality — to get attention, get on that podium, get that scholarship, get that endorsement deal.

            Why are untransitioned transwomen athletes competing? For the hell of it? Right.

            Watch for it, there will soon be a cachet around getting trans women athletes to endorse your sports products. It’s all the rage.

            1. And I didn’t say all trans women athletes are cheating. But just saying you are a woman and competing in the women’s division as a biological male is cheating on its face. It’s denial of biology and reality — to get attention, get on that podium, get that scholarship, get that endorsement deal.

              Your second sentence does indeed say all trans women are cheating.

              And your third sentence says they are cheating for attention, for the podium, for the scholarship, for the endorsement deal. IOW, you are indeed implying, even if you don’t say it outright, that they’re all like Barry Bonds etc. Not only do you say they cheat, but you further state it’s for venal motives.

              I unreservedly disagree and think this attitude shows bias. There is no prima facie reason to be more suspicious of trans athlete motivations than cis ones. And I say this as someone who thinks the biological differences are important to performance and think trans women should compete in an open league rather than a women’s league – the performance differences doesn’t doesn’t mean I doubt every trans’ person’s sincerity or motivation. Do you know what we should count as evidence of cheating and insincerity? Evidence of actual intent to cheat and evidence of actual insincerity. Not simply ‘being trans,’ which is a lousy and biased proxy for that.

              1. FWIW, I think it’s your attitude (eric) that shows bias— accusing jbillie of ”indeed implying, even if you don’t say it outright…”

        2. Why languish as an unknown at number 200 or 500 in the world in the mens’ division when you can be on the top step of the podium in womens’? Especially since all you have to do is “say that you’re a woman”.

          Exactly. Sports have always been highly competitive but in the male domain. Then suddenly, women’s sports became popular, so why not go for it?

          Get preferential treatment (given to you by the courts) and stick it to women at the same time. Money + misogyny.

          1. I agree. And of course we can’t assume any competitors will be cheaters, but if they are incentivized to cheat, some of them will. Incentives like these (ego, money, fame, misogyny) matter because they shape human behaviour. Not to mention that competitive sports is very ego driven.

    2. With regard to transwomen prisoners being placed in women’s prisons it is worth noting the notorious case of Karen White:
      https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/oct/11/karen-white-how-manipulative-and-controlling-offender-attacked-again-transgender-prison

      On the same subject, in written evidence to the UK’s parliamentary Women and Equalities Committee, Fair Play for Women (FPfW) noted: “This problem has already arisen in Ireland following the introduction of a [Gender Recognition Certificate] GRC system based on self-declaration. There are currently 3 male-born prisoners in possession of a GRC located on female wings in Irish prisons. At least two of those three obtained a GRC after committing serious violent or sexual crimes but before sentencing and transfer to prison.”

      During one of the spoken evidence sessions there was also a passing reference to sexual offences committed by transwomen prisoners in Denmark, but I don’t think the details or numbers were spelt out fully.

    3. Leave it to the detailed and informed commentariat of WEIT to show how complicated this thing really can be! I can maybe hold out that those cases cited are not representative of the majority, and that most trans women are not a danger to bio-women any more than are others that identify as women, but I don’t know enough to defend that opinion.

  7. Your observation is absolutely right in my experience and opinion. I could cite numerous examples where even the most milquetoast observations (human sex is binary apart from in a vanishingly small number of intersex individuals, of which none are trans, for example) provoke a pushback that is far greater than any similar observations in other areas.

    I am not sure why that is, apart from I note two things.

    1) The pro trans community is very organised in places such as twitter and Reddit. They can whip up outrage very quickly and easily.
    2) There is a notion that trans rights (in this sense meaning that trans people are literally the sex they claim to be, and therefore trans women can claim all of the rights put in place to protect natal women) are the new civil rights frontier.

    Therefore there is a greater amount of activist energy on the subject. Race is seen as a battle that has been fought and largely won. Most people will accept the simple notion that people are equal regardless of race. Those who do not are on the fringes of society, thankfully.

    I would also say that there is some kernel of truth to CRT, despite the excesses that the movement is known for.

    If I were to say ‘Without systematic racism the history of the US would be fundamentally different’ I think anyone would largely see that this is a point that has some merit

    If I were to then say ‘Men can become women simply by asserting that they are’ Then I doubt I would get the same response. At least i hope not.

  8. My thoughts include the fact that no one chooses their skin color and it’s almost impossible to change it. My favorite books on race are Caste by Isabel Wilkerson and anything by Ta Nehesi Coates, whose message I take as Black people are mistaken if they can rely on White people to change the system. I have avoided Kendi as I don’t want to be instructed on my behavior, which the title of one of his books implies. I’ve lived around racists my entire life and that’s enough for me. I know what I need to do to overcome my Southern biases and I do it.

    As far as transgender goes, I’m sure the history of gays being told their sexual interests were a choice and this idea held back gays rights such as marriage for years. I’m guessing the pro-trans people don’t want to see a decade or so muddling around with that idea. They want full acceptance as a new “normal” and are willing to fight opposition. My best guess.

    Trans is an issue best left to biologists and the medical community. Possibly the trans community is trying to get ahead of the religious pushback which will require the full steam approach against anything that is going to slow them achieving full equality and acceptance.

  9. This is an interesting question. Obviously, we’ve all grown up knowing about racism. Transgenderism(?) seems a lot newer. Before I graduated from college, I could count on one hand the number of people I knew (for sure) were gay. I don’t recall if I’ve ever known someone who was (openly) transgender. I remember seeing one of those Google charts that showed ‘transgender’ as a term exploding about six or eight years ago. I think I saw someone relate it to the acceptance of gay marriage, with the implication that the gay rights movement was over. (I know Andrew Sullivan thinks that the the “T” has ousted the other letters from LGBT.) Because it’s new and most of us have little experience of it, it is hard to talk about, and no one wants to appear to be biased. Therefore, we start on our back foot, and it’s easy for proponents to take the high ground. At the same time, all I can think is that, as a political strategy, Transgenderism strikes more fundamentally at the foundations of our society than Racism does, and, thus, is a more promising strategy for the Woke, the more so as they scream and shout.

  10. My guess is that the trans community as a whole views their own position in the hierarchy of minorities as one which is far less secure than that of racial/ethnic minorities. Hence much more insecure, hence much more reactive. At some level, a lot of trans people probably believe that many more people disapprove of racial bigotry than of hostility to trans individuals. Who knows—they may be right….

  11. I’ve noticed a couple of things myself. First, that trans women dominate the controversy. The discussion, for obvious reasons, is always about whether trans women belong in female spaces; rarely do trans men make such a fuss. Perhaps because they are not seen as potential dominators/predators. This is all above my pay grade, but my husband made a quip that stuck with me, because there is some truth to it. “That’s what men do,” he said, “We take things over.” It was meant as a joke, and yet there are undeniable biological truths. There are seminars to teach trans women how to be less aggressive and act more female. I support 100% people living as they choose. But to force everyone to pretend along when there are biological facts to contend with is asking too much IMO. We’re not seeing trans men demanding that ‘men’ be spelled differently (like womxn) or that we stop saying ‘man’ and use a euphemism in place of it (birthing people instead of women).

    1. I think most of the demands for replacing “mother” with “birthing person” in obstetrics and “women” with “menstruators” in period products is coming from — or done on behalf of — transmen (trans-identified females.)

  12. My take: most people realize that the extreme trans-activism stuff is just wrong. Most people think that it is at least possible that there could be differences between races of the type touted by conventional racism.

    Also, mit is almost always trans women, not trans men, who are the radicals.

    Another point: in contrast to all other groups, trans people want to join an existing group, rather than being recognized (or not) as being a distinct group.

  13. Notice, too, how trans-activism has spread like wildfire across the whole world, including conservative and homophobic countries. Gay people fought hard for decades in the West to gain rights to marriage and non-discrimination in the most liberal countries, and then trans-activists come along and within fewer than 5 years, have steamrolled everyone into obeisance. It is motivated by misogyny, fetishism, science-denial, and homophobia. The more aggressive response from activists is because the propaganda around trans-ness declares that any pushback *denies their very existence*, whereas there is no such “denial” possible in the rhetoric around race. It’s an existential thing.

    But also, we’re talking about biological males being challenged on their delusion that they can be women just by saying so. As a woman and survivor of domestic violence, the reaction speaks volumes about their very real male-ness. It’s entitled, coercive, gaslighting, and intending to pick a fight. If they can make you deny the evidence of your own eyes, they know they have you in their thrall, and nothing less is acceptable.

    1. “their very real male-ness [is] entitled, coercive, gaslighting, and intending to pick a fight.”

      Are you implying that all males are: Entitled, coercive, gas-lighting, and spoiling for a fight? That appears to be the case.

      1. I don’t think “all males” are like that, but they are more typically male rather than female attributes.

        1. I can’t edit, but I think that in that respect, trans-‘women’ often expose some extreme male traits there.

        2. I agree with your comment. These are innate tendencies, driven by the balances of various hormones and physical development.

          Sonya’s statement seemed pretty sexist to me. I tried to pose my reply as a clarifying question only; and may well have failed to do so.

          1. To me (and not only me), males are normally much more aggressive and competitive than females. These qualities are not inherently toxic, they have a good side as well as a bad one. In all healthy cultures, the bad side is controlled not only by laws but by a code of honor to which all decent men stick willingly. E.g. it forbids men to pick a fight with a woman, though in many cultures, it is OK for guys to fight between themselves.

            Many trans women, including the only one I know personally, toss the code of honor out the window – they don’t need to stick to rules for men, because they are women, right? They don’t see anything wrong in beating a cis woman in the street in broad daylight. And their activists bend the laws in their favor.

            So, to me, some trans women display the worst in male nature.

            For the record, female nature also has its worst, it is just different (lying, manipulating, backstabbing).

  14. A little-admitted goal for the “trans community” is to force the cost to be paid by taxpayers — or by insurance companies forced by government to pay out of non-discrimination.

    Another is: no waiting until the person comes of age, 18, as a barrier to the legality of hormone, surgical, and psychological therapies.

    These are political goals.

    For anyone who holds sex as immutable and gender a personal construct, it is often objectionable to have these political positions “shoved down the throat” for payment.

    Trans Activists know this is where the battle is being fought. They are neo-Marxist warriors on this front, using gender identity as a fulcrum, and willing to die on the barricades to get collective rights and a free ride. AKA: factual confirmation by the Orthodox Authority of their personal construct, and forced financing by others.

    As for the disposition of minor children, for those opposed to the activist plan, legalized transition is a horrifying atrocity. In addition to having to pay for it,

  15. They are religious (or at least ideological) zealots. There is no place in their worldview for a discussion and evaluation of factual evidence. There is either the current dogma or blasphemy.

    It also seems that hyperbolic outrage is an effective tactic these days. We genuinely do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so they immediately go to full outrage and claim to be terribly traumatized by any statements not fitting neatly into their current set of beliefs.

    Any rational person is going to fail in efforts to appease them, because many of their core beliefs are contradictory, and they change fairly rapidly. Any statement you make today, even if carefully tailored to please them, will become hateful blasphemy eventually, to be used against you.

  16. Perhaps transgender activists see any pushback on their beliefs as more of an existential threat (so that they perceive any discussion whatsoever of the possibility, say, that transwomen aren’t women as erasing their identity) than black activists see criticism of CRT, and (over)react accordingly?

    I also suspect that campaigning organisations on trans issues are smaller and fewer in number than their anti-racism counterparts, making them easier for those on the extreme end of the argument to take over. Here in the UK, one of the 14 co-founders of Stonewall, which campaigns on LGBTQIAP+ issues, has recently resigned citing the new and divisive focus on trans-rights and gender identity: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/jun/05/stonewall-trans-debate-toxic-gender-identity

    1. Apologies, I see that Sonja made a very similar point about pushback being an existential threat at #13 – as so often, I commented before refreshing the page.

  17. When one’s ideological position is factually untenable one must defend it with extreme vigor.

  18. The relative smallness of the transgender community makes this general situation an excellent illustration of one of the central problems of social media — that it very quickly becomes impossible to gauge how widespread a response really is. When activist opinion had to be marshalled by letter- or email-writing campaigns and paper petitions, it was easy to distinguish a well-organized fringe from a genuine groundswell of opinion. But now that such storms are instantly generated on Twitter, institutions tend to respond to all of them as if they represented a wide consensus of opinion when, in reality, they may represent no greater proportion of the population than the deranged letters in green ink those same institutions used to laugh off or ignore. The technology, in other words, has caused institutions to lose their nerve and, I suspect, react more swiftly than they should, in circumstances in which their predecessors would have taken a breath, consulted and discussed a response internally and had a chance to listen to cooler heads rather than being panicked into submitting to the loudest voices.

    1. Another problem is that in the UK many media (and other) organisations have signed up to accreditation of their “inclusive” Human Resources policies by the activist group Stonewall (under its Diversity Champions programme). Some feminists have accused this of amounting to “corporate capture” and the media organisations of being bound by biased company policies as a result. (I have no way of judging these claims either way.)

  19. There’s a lawyer’s saying: “If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts; if you have the law on your side, pound the law; if you have neither the facts nor the law, pound the table.”

    The trans advocates are pounding the table.

  20. The incidence of mental illness is quite high in the transgender community. This is why they are more retaliatory online than other marginalized groups, I think.

    One more comment: I believe the high rate of homicide in the trans community is due to the lack of socialization as women that trans-women display. I used to work in the public sector and would see trans-women behaving aggressively towards men, calling them out, “Are you looking at me?!!” Biological females who grow up as girls learn from a very early age not to engage in this way with strange men who violate social norms/customs or attempt to gain our attention or express physical interest in us (by whistling, staring, etc.).

      1. I think that Abigail Schriver tackles this one. It’s possible that, yes quite a lot of trans people get killed for various reasons, but there’s little evidence that it’s at a higher rate than in the rest of the population. As with Jerry, if I’m wrong about this, please provide the correct information, with the relevant data.

        1. I think a week or so ago several links were posted on this website showing the crime rate, including sexual crimes, of trans-‘women’ conforms to male, not female, crime rates. What -if anything- does that tell us?

      2. My understanding is that a higher proportion of trans women in Brazil and Mexico work in the sex trade, and those sex workers (trans or not) have high homicide rates. It’s this inherently more dangerous work (not their trans identity) that causes the apparent high murder rate for trans women globally. I have seen news articles about this but not a formal research study or report. There’s this but I don’t have access to it.

        https://www.statista.com/statistics/944650/number-trans-murders-latin-america-country/

        1. Makes sense though, I can well imagine a straight cismale client will not be happy to find out he picked up a trans’women’ and the latter will not be happy to be rejected and will not be paid for his/her time it took to find out. Several grounds for serious conflict, i’dsay.

      3. For info, there’s an article here by Wilfred Reilly arguing that the murder rate of trans-women is significantly lower than for other groups.

        [Or is the question about homicide by trans people, not of trans people?]

      4. Apparently it happens enough to have a legal defense for killing a trans person:

        What is the LGBTQ+ “panic” defense?

        The LGBTQ+ “panic” defense strategy is a legal strategy that asks a jury to find that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity/expression is to blame for a defendant’s violent reaction, including murder. It is not a free-standing defense to criminal liability, but rather a legal tactic used to bolster other defenses.

        THe above is from an LGBT legal bar site. Wikipedia also has an article about it. Our Governor Abbott in Texas is doing his best to keep it the law of Texas.

  21. . Suppose that I insisted that I was “born in the wrong body” as a member of the human species, and feel that I am really (despite all physical evidence) a Tibetan Snow Leopard. The purely empirical difficulty of sustaining my claim might lead me instead to use overheated rhetoric, ad hominum argumentation, attempts to cancel any opposing statement, and so on. Why, I might even insist that anyone pointing out that I am obviously not a snow leopard is attacking my very existence and thereby committing a microaggression or some even more heinous offense.

  22. This is just a guess. Activists live in an environment of people who have various levels of knowledge and experience in the particular area. Activists in the racial arena are dealing with a public that knows white, black and other people and are therefore limited in how ‘ideological’ they can be without being summarily dismissed. Trans activists are dealing with a public where many (most?) people don’t know any trans people and so have no base understanding. Perhaps this allows these activists to be more insistent in their opinions.

    1. Slightly off topic, but women, as a defined biological entity, do exist and have legal rights that need to be preserved – and the irony that men should get to override that definition and those rights for their own purposes is the very definition of patriarchy, even if those men identity as (trans)women.

      We keep being told that gender isn’t binary – am I alone in thinking that it’s also ironic that trans activists are the ones insisting 1) that it is, 2) that they should be the ones to write the rules, and 3) anyone who disagrees is transphobic and guilty of hate speech?

  23. My theory is that transgender activists feel much more vulnerable to criticism related to regret expressed by those who have de-transitioned. Some changes are indisputably irreversible (such as “top surgery” and “bottom surgery”), and other changes are alleged to be irreversible or to have permanent effects (such as hormone therapy on children). Some of the allegations are stark, such as a study reporting that the suicide rate among transgendered persons ranges from 32% to 50% across the countries. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5178031/ There are grim reports by those who regretted transitioning, describing in detail what was involved from a medical standpoint. https://quillette.com/2020/10/06/forget-what-gender-activists-tell-you-heres-what-medical-transition-looks-like/ There are studies suggesting that with respect to adolescent girls it might be a maladaptive coping technique spread by peer groups. https://thefederalist.com/2018/09/06/transgender-new-anorexia/ There are reports of a high percentage who end up wishing they had not transitioned https://quillette.com/2020/01/02/the-ranks-of-gender-detransitioners-are-growing-we-need-to-understand-why/ with other reports contesting the numbers.

    It could be that transgender activists feel that their entire edifice is in danger of collapsing. Or maybe a better analogy is that their boat has so many demonstrable holes in it that they feel the need to immediately plug up every new leak and to bail constantly, opposing every individual new allegation or disagreement.

    The assertions made by CRT advocates, on the other hand, do not rely on findings or data but rather on dogmatic assertions of pervasive and systemic racism that they say is self-evident and should require no proof except if the inquirer is racist. Dogmatic assertions not relying on specific data are not that easy to disprove, especially without a complicated statistical study that most people would not really understand and that others would dispute, and which in any case would endanger the academic careers of its authors. Finally, nobody is physically injured by adopting CRT so, everything considered, that boat is in no danger of sinking. They can pick their battles, and high-profile biologists, well-respected in the scientific community and who do not lead a movement against them, are perhaps not considered the most urgent or productive targets.

  24. Like race it is pretty darn easy to spot a transgender woman. Are we all hard wired to identify gender?

      1. “THAT’S a noife!”
        I’ll stick a prawn on the barbie for you! 🙂
        D.A.
        NYC (born in Australia)

        1. I’ve mentioned it below the line before, but dad (now 91) was the Heathrow customs officer in that er… 1970s classic of Ozzie culture The Adventures of Barry McKenzie!

  25. Oops, that was meant to be a standalone comment and not a reply to anyone – not sure what went wrong there!

  26. On a tangential subject, I have just noticed that University of Washington Medicine has a Transgender and Gender Non-Binary Health Program. It offers, inter alia some of the
    following services.
    “Currently, the program offers many gender-affirming services, from hormone management and fertility care to orchiectomy and hysterectomy to chest masculinization and breast augmentation. And beginning later this year, patients will be able to access vulvovaginoplasty services for the first time. (This is colloquially called “bottom surgery” but not everyone uses that term.)
    Aside from direct care for patients, the team also does behind-the-scenes work to make UW Medicine’s patient and work environments — and the broader community — more inclusive, working toward ensuring faculty and staff badges list pronouns to creating gender-neutral bathrooms to providing consultations and trainings for outside organizations. …Plus, they continue to work on making existing types of care more inclusive to trans patients, such as by renaming women’s health and men’s health services.” The last part of the program could be called “problematic”—except that that adjective has
    already been undermined.

    1. Maybe it is my imagination, but sometimes it feels like we are arranging our entire society around an obsession with, what? 0.001 % of the population who is intersex?
      I don’t get it. Aren’t there more pressing issues effecting more people?
      D.A.
      MYC

  27. I suspect that trans-activists are angry and frustrated because they know deep down that what they so desperately desire is for ever unobtainable.

  28. Part of the problem is that “trans” has become such an umbrella term that anyone who doesn’t conform to gender stereotypes can identify as trans. In the past transsexuals were largely homosexual men and women who for whatever reason wanted to live as the opposite sex. This was a vanishingly small number of people who took great pains, including surgery, to conform as much as possible to their ideal. The rise in “trans” people is because the term has expanded to include what used to be called transvestites (see Eddie Izzard) as well as people who don’t feel comfortable conforming to gender stereotypes.

    The new thing over the last few years has been the declaration that you are (or are not) literally the sex you identify (or don’t) with – I suspect that a lot of the fervor of trans activists comes from the fact that, deep down, they know that’s not true.

  29. Interesting you get more pushback from one than the other. I suppose people are used to dealing with race however trans is kind of “new” as an issue (see Abigail Shriver’s excellent work).

    How many actual trans people do you/people generally know? I know only ONE, and I live in (hugely LGBT) Chelsea, NYC. So they’re more hypothetical as a cause.
    But apart from crazy Christians and some MAGAs, who really wishes them ill?

    Also – as Steve P. says “political movements don’t just go home when they get what they want(like LGBTQ’s gay marriage for instance). They focus on ever more obscure, smaller issues.”

    Also…. people are CRAAAA-ZY about sex and gender for some reason.
    I don’t see the point myself. My $0.02 cents worth anyway.

    D.A.
    NYC

    1. But apart from crazy Christians and some MAGAs, who really wishes them ill?

      People don’t wish them ill. People wish that transgender activists would stop insisting that children be taught in school that they might want to consider whether or not they were born in the wrong body, or that drag queen story hour is an appropriate way to demonstrate to kindergarteners the normal range of reasonable behavior.

  30. I’ve noticed the extra viciousness of defenders of Trans-bullying compared to the reaction to criticisms of other tenets of Woke dogma as well. I’ve been banned from the “Fraser Valley Atheist, Skeptics, and Humanists” Facebook Page for using the word “woke” one too many times after a long discussion thread where I was accused of among other calumnies, advocating the extermination of trans-women. I suspect the reason for the extra vitriol is that of all the woke bullshit, the trans bullshit is the most egregious and its internal contradictions the most obvious, so it takes an extra dollop of public punishment to scare people who might harbour doubts about its validity into silence. Interestingly, criticism of Islam is pretty much allowed to slide these days. I can’t recall the last time I was deemed an Islamophobe for dissing the unholy alliance between woke fake progressives and arch conservative, misogynist, homophobic Islamist imams. Another possible explanation is that there are now several Black public intellectuals pushing back on woke anti-racist bullshit, correctly pointing out that it is, in fact, racist by any clear rational definition of the word, while when it comes to trans-bully bullshit, there are essentially no prominent trans-women who are pushing back against it. I have read some such push-back, but not by anyone with any kind of fame.

    1. They were later admonished by the Seattle Human Rights Commission and issued an apology:

      “We apologize for the inquiry to the City of Seattle regarding Take B(l)ack Pride, it was not meant to be an attack or divide but to ensure equality for all,” the pair posted on Facebook Saturday. “Capitol Hill Pride encourages community events and our mission is to recognize the LGBTQ+ community and all spectrums.

      “We sincerely want to elevate the segment of the LGBTQ community especially of black transgender women, recognize the important history and contributions and support this segment of the hidden rainbow,” they added. “At this time we have requested an invitation of a meeting of hosting parties to resolve any issues and find common ground.”

  31. Being passionate about a subject tends to make it difficult to remain on an objective, academic footing about it. Thus I’d say the use of ad homs is probably related to the passion supporters hold towards trans rights.

    Also, the more well-supported we believe our opinion to be, the more likely we are to see an opponent’s position as being the result of bias or irrationality rather than intellectual disagreement. Because anyone who has access to the data I have and thinks rationally about it must reach the same conclusion I reached, right? Thus anyone who disagrees with me must be ignorant, irrational, or biased. This sort of inability to imagine how someone reasonable could start with the same data and reach a different conclusion is much wider than just the trans issue, but I’m guessing it plays a part here too. If you absolutely know what the answer should be, you’re more likely to see anyone who disagrees as merely ignorant or bigoted. OTOH if you think the issue of trans rights is complicated, nuanced, and that a lot of important information still needs to be collected, then you’re much more likely to accept the ‘reasonable people may disagree with me – and the fact that you disagree with me doesn’t make you unreasonable’ possibility.

    1. Thus I’d say the use of ad homs is probably related to the passion supporters hold towards trans rights. … If you absolutely know what the answer should be, you’re more likely to see anyone who disagrees as merely ignorant or bigoted.

      I disagree that the propensity to use an ad hominem argument is a function of how passionately one agrees with one’s own position or sees the other person as ignorant or bigoted. The ad hominem is equivalent to throwing mud instead of making an argument.

      If a person believes, for example, that many of the problems of inner city youth are caused by inner city culture instead of by systemic racism, calling him a racist is obviously a very effective way of silencing him and discouraging others from saying the same thing. But this approach is not to be expected just because the person’s opponent feels strongly that systemic racism is mostly to blame. It is a dishonest approach that is used because it is effective.

  32. An interesting case is Ophelia Benson at Butterflies and Wheels. With respect to trans activism, she sounds almost like Jerry (perhaps even a bit more critical of it), but when it comes to to CRT, she seems not only to believe that is worthwhile, but caricatures critics of it and implies that if you don’t support CRT then you might as well support Trump and his ilk. Strange.

  33. I think it’s because trans activists spend most of their lives ONLINE. They’re hugely over-represented in IT. This is how they control much of the discourse on social media (reddit & Twitter in particular).

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