The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Analyzing The Trans Panic

This is an article I’ve been avoiding writing for a few years now because there’s no upside to it, much like a man weighing in on feminism or a white person writing about first nations or anyone who isn’t a racist piece of garbage writing about Israel. But because trans-rights have become a political wedge issue, I feel it has become necessary to discuss them.

I’m fifty-five years old. When I was growing up two things were true about transvestites (which we universally thought of as male to female). People didn’t like them, and people mostly didn’t think it was any of their business unless they were tricked into a romantic or sexual encounter with one.

I don’t want to underplay how much they were disliked. Watch the end of the first Ace Ventura movie to get a feel for it.

But I don’t remember many people saying transvestites (or drag queens) didn’t have a right to exist. Now, admittedly, this is the late 70s and 80s and 90s, not the 50s and 60s.

The current panic needs a dissection. It’s obviously something which conservatives have vastly amplified in an attempt to use it as a wedge issue, so they can roll back advances on GLBTQ rights. I say obviously because they’re the ones pushing it hardest, alongside one group of essentialist feminists, the TERFs. Conservatives always love to find an otherwise leftish group to work with: in the past they often worked with anti-porn feminists (whom I have some sympathy for.)

A wedge issue is meant to split. Split a coalition, split the public. Carve the T and Q off GLBTQ as gays, lesbians and bi-sexuals scramble to protect themselves and get mommy and daddy to associate cross-dressing with their kids and feel queasy about it, rather than with those two nice gays or lesbians who want to marry, or the bisexual whose bed-partners have nothing to do with them.

There are three main avenues of attack. Sports, safety in female only spaces like bathrooms, and “save the kiddies.”

Let’s start with sports. There’s a lot of back and forth on this and disagreeing studies, but my take on this is simple enough. If you’ve gone thru puberty as a man you’re going to have an advantage in certain sports due to skeletal structure. I used to run. Look at men running and women running: women’s mechanics are different and less efficient due to wider hips. It’s just that simple. In some gender divided sports I’m not sure that trans-women should be allowed to compete, as a matter of fairness. I don’t see an issue with trans-men competing in most sports, but it may turn out that there are some sports in which female puberty is an advantage. There are certainly sports where the best women are worlds better than the best men (real long distance swimming, as one example, though it seems like most of the advantage would go away with hormone treatment.)

Sports is fairly niche, however. The second issue is female only spaces, mostly public bathrooms. The bottom line here is that there doesn’t seem to be much trans-on-normie violence, but a ton of normie-on-trans violence and that trans-women are at great risk if forced to use men’s bathrooms. Trans-women get raped and beaten a lot and men’s bathrooms are a bad place for them. The “other” stigma combined with the fact that any post-hormone treatment transwoman is unlikely to be able to hide what she is makes them big obvious targets that a significant minority of men thinks it’s OK to rape or beat. A transwoman, while she has some skeletal advantages in sports where small advantages add up to victory, is not a big physical threat to other women, and there is no evidence of a wave of trans-women violence, though there have been some individual cases. The bathroom stuff is a panic, and largely irrational.

Now, the kids thing. This is the real problem, and this is what has people most worked up over and outraged. The first step is to admit that there’s some reason for it.

Understand clearly, the evidence is that people who go thru puberty as their preferred gender, having never gone thru puberty as their non-preferred gender have better outcomes, both psychologically and medically/physically. This is pretty settled.

But we have a culture where an ten to thirteen  year old isn’t supposed to make any important decisions for themselves. Our children, including out teenagers below the age of 18, are chattel. Their parents and other authorities make all the important decisions, with the state having the right to override the parents.

This is a time and social bounded case and has not been the situation in all societies. It’s good we don’t have child labor, but the lack of it means that we have come to believe that children and teens (really two different things) are incapable of making their own decisions well or of knowing what is good for them. Further, because of the amount of hormones in our food and water the age of typical puberty has dropped significantly. Many children used to hit puberty as late as 14, that’s rare now.

The problem is that outcomes ARE better if the decision is made at (or rather just before) puberty onset. Again, this isn’t in doubt.

But, yes, it’s a big decision and you’re given hormones to go thru puberty in your non-biological gender, that’s going to lead to worse outcomes if you change your mind.

To the best of my knowledge, however, fewer people change their mind than stick with it and who believe they made the right choice, at least with the time-limited data we have so far.

The other issue related to this is the use of hormone blockers. (Oddly I’m on hormone blockers right now, as they’re standard in one treatment protocol for cancer.)

Understand clearly: the vast majority of evidence and this evidence was accumulated before kid-trans became an issue, is that early puberty is bad for kids: they’re unhappy, they do less well in school, etc. Late puberty is associated with happier and better adjusted kids. Add that to the fact that puberty now comes earlier than it did before we polluted our food and water and a couple years on puberty blockers is close to a non-issue. Hormone blockers do sometimes cause medical issues, so they aren’t risk free, but the risks of growing up as the non-prefferred gender are significant.

But the bottom line here is simple. Should children be able to make their own decisions? Can they? There’s lots of conservative claims that children are unduly influenced by parents or teachers or whatever to become trans, but a cold eye that notices that being a transvestite is still looked on negatively by most of the population leads to the calculation that it’s more likely they’ll be persuaded away becoming trans than towards becoming trans.

Influence or no, though, the problem is that the decision to be trans is best made just before puberty, because not undergoing the other gender’s puberty leads to the best outcomes. This is a decision which should be made by young teens, and our society thinks that young teens shouldn’t make important decisions.

The body in question, however, and the future, is theirs. They are the ones who have to live with it. I am aware of no vast social interest in whether or not transvestites exist. As for the surgery, just leave that decision till they’re legal adults. But the hormone therapy decision should be made young and perhaps, for once, we should allow children to make a decision that matters to them, with the input of their family and doctors, when they need to make it to get the best results.

As for the politics, fuck the right. If people don’t own their own bodies and have the right to make decisions about them, they own nothing. The only reason this is an issue at all is because it involves children and we treat children like property. The rest of it is politically driven moral-panic bullshit. The existence of transvestites, male or female, does not harm you in the vast majority of circumstances (elite athletics is a tiny issue and bathrooms are largely bullshit) and is none of your goddamn business. Mind your own business and let them mind theirs.

(A summary from Scientific American of the evidence.)

Edit: Corrected to indicate improved psychological outcomes (very robust) and some issues from hormone blockers.

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Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – March 19, 2023


The First Great Environmental Crisis Will Be


  1. Tim W

    The entire issue boils down to the individual’s right to privacy, regardless of age and with that the right to pursue happiness and live life on their own terms. As with any sexuality, there is a point at which we become aware of who we are as people and while we may try to hide it, nothing in the world can change the facts of where on the scale of sexual diversity we land. As with abortion, the other attack of the political right, trans health is an issue of privacy and is of only concern to the individual, and their health care team. What “we” think in the grand scheme of things, is entirely irrelevant and our acceptance of them is more our problem, than it is there’s and the burden of shame is not the trans person’s obligation to bear.

  2. marku52

    Fascinating. My own (poorly formed) view is that it is too early for a child to make a life-long decision, but your argument is strong. I definitely agree that trans in sports is not fair.

  3. Willy

    I live in a region which the deplorables would call “a gay friendly zone”. If they were being polite that is. I have to get out a lot. Out of tens of thousands of human bodies amongst all the many crowds I’m forced to endure, I’ve seen two obvious trannies. In ten years.

    Okay, so maybe I’m not looking hard enough. I was at a county fair lumberjack show with the wife once, and a guy sitting behind us in the stands kept loudly muttering to his family about all “the libtards and metrosexuals”. For their part, his family did their part to calm dad down and “please just enjoy the show”. I took a good look around. All I could see were nice hetero couples and families, almost all white. Then my wife whispered to me that maybe the lumberjack’s short pants had triggered something in the man. A case of the dreaded funeral giggles ensued. Ever the diplomat, at least in meatspace, I had to diffuse that situation so we could get out of there without some kind of scene.

    I did some online searches and found that the gayest, tranniest city in all the land, San Francisco, is 7% gay. And that percentage has held steady for decades.

    So yeah. All this latest angst sure seems to be little more than a cultivated diversion.
    Worse, I’ve come to believe that these people don’t even believe very much in their own angst. It’s an act, some kind of macho ape virtue signaling. When the gorilla beats his chest, he isn’t telling all the other gay gorillas they’d better act straight. Not really. He’s trying to demonstrate just how silverback he is.

    Maybe this explains the conservative movement as a whole. Plutocrats know they’re ruining everything, so they devise ways to get the common males to put on displays, as a diversion for the rest of us.

  4. Garrett

    Hey Ian, appreciate this piece. It’s been hard not to notice the sheer number of ppl who seem to see America’s imperialist behavior for what it is seem to have some quite atrocious views on social issues. I would add though just for perspective, that the majority of pre- pubescent children on hormone blockers are 9-10 year old girls delaying the onset of their periods since period pain is basically a monthly torture regimen to a pre-teen.

  5. Ken

    Thanks for writing about this. I generally agree. However, it’s difficult to make life-long decisions at age 13. However, I’ve never been trans before, so maybe it is easy for them.

  6. Soredemos

    It’s actually a very, very straight forward phenomenon. ‘Biological sex as subscription service’ is exactly the type of thing you should expect to see in a late stage capitalism that has already reduced pretty much everything else to a debased transaction. It’s a cultural psychosis that will eventually burn itself out, hopefully massively discrediting the strain of liberalism and ‘progressivism’ (there’s no progress here) that pushed it (and yes, there is very much a coordinated push for it. I don’t care if that makes me sound like a right winger screaming about the ‘gay agenda’; it’s demonstrably true).

    The framing here by Welsh is weird. Why are you equating crossdressing with being trans? Crossdessers do it for a lot of reasons, and historically few if any have ever seriously claimed to literally be the other sex ‘trapped in the wrong body’. Trans simply isn’t a historical phenomenon at any scale. Activists will often attempt to point at something like Native American two-spirits and claim ‘see, trans’, but inevitably when you actually zoom in on the specifics these always invariably came out of patriarchal, macho cultures that either didn’t know how to deal with the existence of gay men so shoved them into a box of ‘virtual women’, or were explicitly about excluding women from public performative or ritual roles. There’s nothing progressive about any of these historical third gender categories.

    ‘TERF’s’ mostly aren’t actually a thing. It’s a bad faith framing device to portray skeptics as the fringe weirdos. In fact skeptics, or outright refusniks, are the majority both within feminism and outside of it. But at this point voicing even mild criticism will still get you drowned out.

    A thing I find funny is that I remember how even just ten years ago we were still at the ‘sex isn’t the same as gender’ stage. That’s a phrase that still exists, but now people simply parrot it but don’t contemplate it. Now we’re at the point where if you don’t conform to social gender expectations it’s because you’re literally the opposite biological sex and you need to start mutilating yourself to conform. This is progress?

    Sports is fairly niche (professionally yes, though much less niche for kids recreational sports), but I think you’re really downplaying the potential impact. First, women are worse athletically across the board, usually massively so. Just, full stop, sorry. In fact mens specific sports mostly don’t actually exist; most of the ‘mens’ division rulebooks don’t actually forbid women. It’s just women can’t compete with the performance level so women’s divisions had to be created for them specifically. The exceptions where women are better are vanishingly rare, like long distance swimming where women have an advantage because they have a higher percentage of body fat. They aren’t stronger or have better endurance, they’re just working less because they float better.

    You also seem to be framing the (in)ability of children to make sensible decisions as some failure of the wider culture. Children are actually idiots, and always have been. And by child I really mean anyone under the age of about twenty five, when the part of the brain that most governs rational decision making finishes fully forming. Kids are stupid, most notoriously around early to mid puberty, and are very easily manipulated and led by fads. Trusting children and getting them on hormones is a staggeringly moronic move. No one between the ages of ‘dad buy me this Fortnite skin I *need* it’) and ‘my role model that I emulate in all things is an Instagram bimbo’ shound be trusted with anything, least of all their own medical decisions.

    What I predict is going to happen over the next ten to fifteen years is that huge amounts of people who have done permanent damage to themselves either through hormones or, worse, surgery, are going to gradually come to the horrifying realization that whatever problems they had haven’t actually been addressed and that they were lied to.

  7. Bullweather

    Great piece overall, Ian, and some good counterpoints for what I typically think and hear regarding this issue.

    You’re right that kids do not get enough credit for what they are capable of in USA society. People call the cops on children for being unsupervised outside of their own homes. Meanwhile, teens are not trusted to roam without a cell phone these days. It’s absurd. Even though I agree that this issue is largely blown out of proportion, there is a real concern that social media, which has been proven to influence teen moods, thoughts, and actions, is also exerting influence on some of these kids to take medications.

    I’m still working out my thoughts on this issue, but agree that privacy and self-determination are foundational to freedom and happiness.

  8. Ché Pasa

    Trans panic? Huh. The first time I remember seeing a drag performance was a film of Charles Pierce (the Other One, noted drag comedian from times gone by) lip syncing to Vicki Carr’s “It Must Be Him” and annihilating the stage. It was hilarious in the extreme. That’s kind of what drag was. Yanno? Then not too long afterwards, a group of us went down to the Roxy Theatre on Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood, c. 1974, to see “The Rocky Horror Show, ” which was the Sensation of the Season (not the movie, it was live on stage, direct from London but partially recast) starring Tim Curry, Meat Loaf, Kim Milford as Rocky, and so forth. We expected there would be a bunch of freaks and crazies in the audience, but no. The place was filled with suburban Str8 couples, some with their teenage kids, from the San Fernando Valley. They loved it. And there was no doubt about Frank-N-furter’s gender. Proudly male, raging with testosterone. Despite the fact that he wore fishnets and heels, lots of makeup, and a big wig, and called himself a Sweet Transvestite from Transexual Transylvania, this was no trans man. He just liked to dress up. He was funny. Hilarious at times — and also very sad.

    Anyone who lived in or near the San Francisco Bay Area in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s and into the ’90s knew about Finnochio’s where drag burlesque was performed nightly. Very few had any issue with it, but it was San Francisco, so what do you expect. The shows were often hilarious. They were as sexual as straight burlesque — maybe not as much — which meant innuendo more than anything. It was said that Finnochio’s was a great place to pick up sailors.

    The most recent encounter I had with a transsexual was at an even a few years ago where a filmmaker friend introduced a stunning fashion model who he was dating at the time. It took me a while to realize that she had been born a he. I had never seen such a convincing man in drag, but in this case, she was not a man wearing drag. She was a beautiful woman who’d been previously misgendered.

    I have a relative who decided to transition from male to female when he retired from the military (at 50+) and had the time, inclination and wherewithal to do it. She’s been an outspoken trans activist ever since. So I guess I’ve got a dog in this fight.

    “Trans-panic” is a political wedge, sure, but it is also very dangerous if it is allowed to continue. We’ve all heard of str8 men who murder trans prostitutes out of “gay-panic” — and too often suffer few or no consequences. No, they’re “justified.” Fear of going out with a trans prostitute and finding out they’re being serviced by a “man” drives a lot of the panic we’re seeing.

    Most of us of a certain age were exposed to men in drag on television and movies and maybe in real life from a very early in our childhood. It wasn’t life-shattering. It was almost always comedy. It wasn’t usually sexualized. Drag Queen Story Hour is not sexualized and not in any way meant to be. Parents know that — or should. There really isn’t anything to panic over. As for sports and bathrooms, the issue is more complex because we’re talking about people who have transitioned or are in the process. Yet women’s public rest rooms are quite private, aren’t they? Unlike men’s rooms, women do their business out of view of others. So what’s the problem? As for (some) sports, female competitors who developed as males may — or may not — have an advantage. The use of steroids and other enhancements is a bit too widespread to say.

  9. GrimJim

    It is entirely manufactured.

    It is a typical Fascist play. Look back at how the Germans were whipped up against Homosexuals, Communists, Jews, Romany, etc.

    Same exact playbook, same exact bullshit.

    This time further tainted by America’s own brand of Christofascism combined with Republican projection.

    You want to hunt down real pedophiles? Look to the guys who voted down outlawing child marriage in West Virginia. Look to the preachers and priests of every Christian denomination. Look to the local leaders of the MAGA movement… Hell, look at any picture of Trump with his young daughter. Look at every politician who ever hung out with Jeffrey Epstein… Oh wait, Trump again. And Clinton. And Prince Andrew. And hundreds of others, all still in power…

    I’d happily trust an unattended child hanging out in the dressing room of a drag show before I’d ever let them go near Congress or the Republican or Democratic conventions alone.

    But seriously, it’s all part of the opening shots of the Christofascist’s plans for genocide that I laid out earlier.

    That, and a way to rile up their base and get in a heaping helping of projection…

  10. different clue

    I remember an old-fashioned phrase denoting the “irrelevance of it all” when someone tried to force engagement on some hot button issue or other.

    ” What’s that got to do with the price of tea in China?”

  11. DMC

    The American reactionaries need “untermenschen” to kick around or they don’t really have a program. The trans community is perfect for this role as they are, in and of themselves, utterly inoffensive and mostly powerless. That it advances an essentialist understanding of the world is entirely on point. If you find this or similar issues like abortion confusing, ask yourself “What’s the existential take?” and things should look lot clearer. The kind of people trying to make political hay out of this issue suffer from what Burroughs calls “the Virus Mentality”. This is a condition characterized by an inability to mind their own business, “having no business of their own , they are compelled to mind the business of others”. Also note that the rate of de-transition is somewhere south of 1%. The physicians in this field are good at their jobs and weed out the who would de-transition before they’ve transitioned. Note also that transsexual to not like to be confused with transvestites.

  12. nobody

    Moral panics backed by this much funding don’t appear out of nowhere. They are manufactured by entities with their own objectives.

    I suspect — on the basis of no concrete evidence whatsoever, as the people who make these decisions are careful not to leave any smoking guns in public view — that the American right started the trans moral panic in an effort to stand its ground after winning the abortion war.

    The GOP lost voting share among women after banning abortion; fabricating fears over women’s safety at the hands of trans people could well be an attempt to regain votes from women.

    Christian nationalists also needed another target to replace the abortion issue. These people will crawl over broken glass to vote GOP only as long as they have something to hate. With abortion settled in the Christians’ favor, trans people were likely just the target that polled best in the fever swamps of Jesusland.

  13. Joan

    Thank you for being nuanced about this. One of the things I think is great is the regulation that the person go through counseling before hormones, sometimes as long as two years of counseling, though maybe that’s a bit strict. I had severe gender dysphoria growing up, but now I’m convinced a good half of it was due to toxic gender modeling from my Mom-zilla. I attended a trans support group for a couple of years in my twenties, and realized from interacting with the members that I wasn’t trans but I still didn’t know why I had such severe dysphoria. In my case, a good two-thirds of it has calmed down ever since I began processing childhood emotional trauma. I doubt that last third will ever go away though. The idea of being cis-gendered is laughable, but what label that leaves for me I don’t know.

  14. Soredemos


    Why the implicit assumption that the trans movement itself is completely natural and not a well funded astroturf campaign?

    Something I find really interesting in all of this is that dissent isn’t allowed or platformed. It just isn’t. You instantly get called a transphobe and your opinions discounted. Or, if you’re actually female and dare to critisize, you get labeled a TERF. In either case, you also likely get brigaded (which after a while starts to look suspiciously like botting. I actually hope that’s the case, because if it isn’t that means it’s mostly terminally online weirdos acting like cultists and swarming the ‘heretics’). The attempts to cancel JK Rowling, who nerd media regularly attempts to portray as literally the worst person who has ever lived but seem to very carefully never actually quote any of her comments on these issues lest she start to seem pretty reasonable, is a really conspicuous case.

    One side in this kulturampf has massive clout and funding, and it actually isn’t the side that wants to at least have conversation that maybe putting kids on hormones isn’t a good idea. Even if I’m wrong about everything, that’s still a debate worth having, and it just isn’t happening. You just get called a bigot and gaslit that *you’re* the strange one.

    Yes ‘but what about the children!’ is a frequently deployed cynical tactic. But the reason it’s so frequently deployed is because, theoretically, societies care deeply about kids and their well being. With the transmovement giving developing children large amounts of hormones to (pretend to) change their sex is genuinely a thing that is happening, and those who want to put the brakes on and even consider this are the ones attacked. That is wild to me.

    ‘Well doctors say it’s fine…’ actually the evidence in support of it is not anywhere near as robust as defenders claim it is, but also, doctors said lobotomies were good to. I see another, even bigger mark of shame on the medical community developing here.

  15. Astrid

    Was going to respond at length but soredemos said it much better. The wedge isn’t limited to conservatives. The Democrats absolutely use trans as a wedge issue where you get cancelled for getting even slightly off message. See also how Nicola Sturgeon weaponed it to purge the SNP of opponents. It’s absolutely been deployed to destroy careers in academia.

    There are other ways to handle the first two issues, like co-ed or single occupancy bathrooms, trans allowed to participate in all but varsity women’s teams. The insistence that any woman who voice any concerns is TERF is disgustingly totalitarian. Using words like TERF and saying that women’s need for safe spaces are not significant concerns are not a good look coming from a man or transwoman.

    Okay, one more thing. Sports is not a niche issue for many parents. Even nonsporty parents these days tend to let their kids try out for a couple sports on the assumption that it builds character and looks good for college. Being good at sports is often a key determination for college admission and scholarship consideration. Even 20+years ago, 70-80% of Ivy+Stanford admits from my not sporty secondary school class were good to excellent athletes. Making it to state or national level for your obscure track and field specialty can be a big boost for admissions and a small number of “unfair” competitors can completely disrupt the ecosystem.

  16. Lex

    I’ve been reading you for a very long time, Ian. Essays like this are why.

    I have a problem with the drag shows for kids, not because of drag but because kids don’t need that kind of sexualization. At all. Though I’m not sure how real / common those actually are. Other than that, just let people be. My (biological) niece is unsure at this point. All I care about is whether they love themself. Oddly, my very liberal parents are clearly not ok with it. It’s not to the level of refusing contact or anything, just refusing to accept it. The deadnaming and such.

    Doubly odd because my stepdad’s brother died of aids in the like 1991. Gay was something we all accepted when it wasn’t all that accepted and aids was still a gruesome death. I can’t figure out the dichotomy of behavior.

  17. Raad

    I missed this before your nutters assaulted the shores, and hard. But nonetheless this is an all round general ✅✅✅ and 👍 from me

  18. Commentario

    For the most part, “TERFs” aren’t against trans-people existing. If you actually read Super-Terf J.K. Rowling (who I’m not a big fan of) ‘s essay on the subject, you’d find it quite reasonable. (It in no way justified the avalanche of un-lady-like rape and death threats that she received for it.)

    Here’s the concerns of the gender-critical feminists:

    That lesbian communities are being inundated with “transbians,” which is to say: heterosexual men (many of whom obviously have a fetish). And “cis” lesbians who reject transwomen are labelled as bigots and some dating sites ban genuine lesbians who try to state that they are only interested in other biological lesbians.

    Washrooms and change-rooms: There’s a website called “this never happens” about the extent of men claiming trans status and practicing voyeurism and sexual assaults in women’s washrooms and change-rooms. Someone put together a video montage of all the transwomen filming themselves masturbating in the stalls.

    Self-ID: This is what originally got UK women up in arms. The idea that nobody had to get any sort of certificate (“gate-keeping”) to be trans. And, since there’s no mandated way to have to “perform” “gender” any man could just say he was trans and go wherever he pleased.

    Children: I haven’t read it but I’ve read some scary summaries [with quotes] of the Cass Report on the closure of the Tavistock Institute in the UK. Many inside workers became alarmed that girls with problems associated with sexual abuse, and gay children in general, were being processed as “trans” after only cursory diagnoses, and when they raised concerns about it they were reprimanded.

    Plus there’s the concern that Lupron can cause osteoporosis.

    I recall a few years ago a gay actor saying he’s glad he was born when he was, because as a tween he insisted he was a girl and that kept up until his mid-teens when he became comfortable in his own body. If he’d come of age today he’d have been put on the medicalization/surgery circuit.

    There’s another country, a Nordic one I believe, that is also undergoing a major review of its treatment of “trans” youth.

    And, besides, … what even is “gender” anyway? Do you feel “male”? What does that feel like? Do you feel “human”? How does that feel? Hating one’s body and wanting to be the opposite sex doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re the opposite sex.

  19. I’m with Soredemos. The very sudden importance of trans issues stinks of being manufactured on both sides; right down to activists all using the same language as if it was sent in a mass email.

  20. Astrid

    Despite disagreeing with you, I appreciate you giving this space to have a relatively nuanced and clear headed discussion of the topic.

    I do think you’re missing the forest from the trees. The whole idea of binary trans and CIS division is in itself very reductive of human biology and development. There’s sexual deviation in every society and they deal with them very differently. There’s no clear evidence that transitioning to the other sex is the best option for majority of this population. The trans activists take a very maximalist and in your face approach and deems any deviation as transphobic. This comes straight out of Israel’s playbook equating any disagreement about its version of Jewishness with antisemitism.

    The way this discussion is unfolding in the liberal sphere is in itself totalitarian because it’s impossible to have any discourse away from two distant and likely equally false maximalist positions. Even if the trans issue is exactly as you stated, the state of discourse and the liberal weaponization of transphobia against its critics should induce panic in you.

    And on Soredemos on the kids are idiots comment. Though I would say they’re simply exploring their identity, not necessarily stupid. Lots of people don’t “find” themselves until they are in their 30s or even 40s. The idea that kids at 12 or 13 can responsibly make irreversible decisions about their lifelong health and identity, when 19 year olds consistently can’t figure out their college major in 4 years, is just nuts. As for parents and therapists, remember what happens to child actors who also have parents and managers to advise them?

    As for how parents feel. Yes, overall society is still anti-trans but if you have a troubled tween/teen with hard to solve issues, this will look like the magic bullet. Besides, liberals don’t allow themselves to question appropriateness for their specific situation for fear of appearing anti-trans.
    That’s why the current situation is so toxic.

  21. Soredemos


    No one can ever be the opposite sex, full stop. Barring some theoretical crazy scifi future where humans have developed deep genetic manipulation abilities, your chromosomes are never going to change. The most we can manage is to massively alter your hormone balance (almost certainly to the detriment of your long term health) and conduct crude surgeries to create a not very convincing caricature of the opposite sex.

    A decade ago we were still at the stage where there was differentiation between biological sex and culturally imposed gender roles. I want us to go back to that era. You can’t literally change your sex. To pretend you can is a harmful delusion. What can be done is to let people just figure out who they are and how they want to present themselves, and then let them do it. Use whatever pronouns you want, wear what you want; I genuinely don’t care.

    But there isn’t really much money to be made in that, like there is in selling hormone supplements and unneeded surgeries to people, which I suspect is actually a big part of why we are where we are now.

  22. NR

    Good post, Ian, especially the part about this being used as a wedge issue. MAGA is a fascist movement, and fascists always go after the “weakest targets” first. They are already signaling their intention to go after everyone else in the LGBTQ community, but they know they would lose support if they started with this intent.

    Of course they will eventually go after everybody. That’s how fascism works. Fascists don’t have policies. They don’t have ideas. They only have enemies, and as they run out of enemies it becomes necessary to manufacture more. So they’ll go after gay people, people who use birth control, people who watch porn, non-Christians, people who wear masks, people who voice opposition to them in a public forum, etc.

    If you don’t think MAGA is an actual, physical threat to your safety, it’s just because they haven’t gotten that far down their list yet.

  23. Willy

    On Rogan’s podcast, Matt Walsh famously overestimated the number of kids reported to be on puberty blockers by a factor of a thousand. Walsh is supposed to be an anti-trans expert. He said “millions” and Rogan’s in-house checking came back at thousands. Yeah, that Rogan, that “vote Republican” for-the-conservative-junkie-clicks-and-cash Rogan. Walsh had no credible sources to cite when called on this.

    My guess is that our “trans panic” is being blown out of proportion by an equally large factor, a thousand.

    Sure, drag time story hour for kids is pretty damned weird, but they’re so few and far between. I’ve never heard of any kid being assaulted there (ignoring the recent debacle in NYC where Proud Boys assaulted DTSH-attending kids with verbal abuse).
    Being sexually assaulted by a christian priest seems much weirder and much worse. The only times I ever had my junk intentionally grabbed as a kid (two incidents) was at church, once by an adult.

    But I’m smart enough to be able to calculate the odds. Churches were so ubiquitous back then that of course your odds of getting your junk grabbed were going to be far greater than at any trannie story hour.

    Which brings me to the reason the left has no serious focus. Leftists continuously get suckered into spending energies discussing Stuff Which Matters Little when compared to the other stuff which matters a lot. And then all those “for-the-conservative-junkie-clicks-and-cash” grifters get to pounce and point at how unfocused (or insert whatever derogatory) “the left” is.

  24. DMC

    The reason TERFs and the whole anti-trans movement are as wrong as 2 left feet is that they are essentialists. “You do what you do because of what you are” rather than the existentialist position ” You are what you are because of what you do”. This is as fundamental a philosophical differance as there is. As to the problem of cis men claiming to be Trans, a simple test is “do you live as a woman full time?”. If the answer is Yes, you’re dealing a Trans-woman, end of story. If they’ve gone through the trouble and expense to get their gender legacy changed, ditto. Also please note that surgical interventions on minors are VANISHINGLY RARE. Also wholly absent from this discussion have been the biologically indeterminate. According to a midwife friend of mine “In the US, 1% of live births annually result in some VISIBLE degree of gender ambiguity”. As it’s easier to “cut a little off that to add some on” you get a lot of “girls” that are in for a big surprise come puberty. The 1% also accounts for genetic conditions,like Klinefelter’s syndrome, where you have something other than the standard xx/xy dichotomy. I find the whining from the anti-trans crowd utterly laughable. “Just because I despise Jews and call for their extermination is no reason to call me a Nazi! Wah wah wah!”

  25. different clue


    How many people in the LGBTQ community are aware of a group called Pink Pistols?

    LGBTQs have gun-rights, too. Even if PMC Liberals don’t like it.

  26. Ché Pasa

    There is no “liberal push back” against the anti-trans rage by the right. The liberals, such as they are, are doing their uttermost to shrug and turn away. It’s not their problem, is it?

    Transsexuals are left to fight these battles on their own and to the extent they can — which isn’t much in anti-trans jurisdictions, which have passed and are implementing numerous restrictive and discriminatory anti-trans laws to interfere with the freedom of trans individuals of any age to receive appropriate medical care, use a public restroom, or appear in public in clothing that does not correspond to that appropriate to their gender as determined at birth.

    While it is a political wedge issue, the upshot is that a marginalized minority is finding it harder and harder to even exist in many areas of the Anglo-sphere where for a brief period they were free to be themselves without interference from the state.

    Niemoller’s lament is coming around again. Who cares?

    Those who argue, endlessly, the intricacies of the topic and the attenuated academic fights over ‘cis’ and non, TERP and DERP and who knows what-all look foolish. The fascist right is an existential threat to perhaps thousands of people right now. But it never stops there.

    And when your turn comes, do you say, “First they came for the gender-indeterminate….?”

  27. Soredemos

    @Ché Pasa

    “There is no “liberal push back” against the anti-trans rage by the right. The liberals, such as they are, are doing their uttermost to shrug and turn away. It’s not their problem, is it?

    Transsexuals are left to fight these battles on their own and to the extent they can”

    This is an absolutely ludicrous statement.

  28. Ian Welsh

    Had to stop a few comments because they went too far into ad-hom. Some that were let thru were questionable.

    1) Make your points without insulting other people.
    2) Think a little about why you’re so worked up about this, an issue which effects very few people and which most people didn’t care about just a few years ago.

  29. Astrid

    The “TERFs” are not saying transpeople don’t exist, they’re saying that biologically and functionally, they’re not the same as women. As such, they do not have the right to usurp and in some cases, hostilely takeover, traditionally women’s spaces. They don’t have the right to convert milleniums old concepts such as breasts and motherhood into “chest feeding” or “birthing parent”. They can live their lives, however they want, in their own created space, not mess up somebody else’s space and then hurl abuses at any sign of resistance. Half of the population is being disproportionately affected and even on this thread, old mostly white men are saying it’s all in their heads and they’re terrible people for questioning this. Even if the “TERFs” were wrong, and there’s plenty of evidence that they’re not entirely wrong, this is getting so gross.

  30. Astrid


    It’s the trans activists who are essentialists, and essentialist based on faith and proclamation alone.

    That transwomen should need accorded all access and privileges granted to women, even when they are physically and yes, mentally different from women. That because transmen do something that is traditionally defined as feminine, they get to eradicate those concepts from women and woe befall the liberal who inadvertently trip up.

    Rather than celebrating their freedom to be themselves and make their own space, as earlier generations of drag queens did exceptionally well.
    the current crop of trans activists are targeting breaking up women’s spaces. And the public face of this activism is often inappropriately sexualized and would be considered fetishistic if applied to anything other than trans gendering situations.
    That’s why a substantial chunk of the population is upset.

  31. Astrid

    BTW, those is all happening while abortion is being criminalized in this country and maternal deaths is at 10x that of Australia. Homelessness is rampant but Biden would rather give more money to Ukraine and SVB. Both ends of the Uniparty are happy to let loose trans and anti-trans activists to put out a distraction and each use it to erode women’s rights further.

    No solidarity or sympathy for women. Just get called TERFs or bigots or freaks or groomers from all sides. And 85% of the World just looks on and contemplates that this circus is armed to the teeth with nuclear warheads.

  32. Soredemos

    @Ian Welsh

    Yes, why on earth would anyone make a big deal about wanting to not mutilate children or screw over biological women. What overly passionate weirdos for having an interest in such things. Trans may be a small percentage of the population, but by definition it isn’t just trans being affected.

    I’d turn this around and ask why something that matters to such a narrow spectrum of the population (something like 0.5% of the population in the US, at most) has gotten such a huge political and business focus in the last few years. There’s nothing organic about this.


    That females get disproportionately screwed over in all of this is very hard to ignore. I can very easily see where someone who claims womanhood itself is being colonized is coming from. I’ve definitely witnessed from a distance the absurd spectacle of attempts to browbeat biological gay women into being willing to try ‘girldick’. If they refuse the next move is to accuse them of being ‘genital fetishists’. At some point a common move is rape and death threats. Those are often very ubiquitous in trans heavy corners of the internet and social media. I won’t go as far as some feminists who basically seem to think aggression and violence of uniquely male attributes, because, hah, they absolutely aren’t (as far as I’m aware research basically seems to show that testosterone doesn’t increase absolute aggression but rather lowers the fuse time on when aggression might explode). But it isn’t hard to find M2F trans discourse that is almost indistinguishable from straight incel or MRA talk.

    One of the rhetorical flourishes I’ve seen before is the claim that if someone wants to, for instance, found a new, female-only shelter, that’s perfectly fine. Aside from the fact that such things were supposed to already exist, when Arch-demon-mega-Satan Rowling used some of her money to do exactly that, she was attacked for it.

    I work extensively with the homeless, and see damaged people come through all the time. I can vaguely appreciate what it must be like to run something like a women’s rape shelter and have to now navigate letting in male bodies that ‘identify’ as women. I’m sure the type of female who might end up in such a shelter is likely to be real receptive to that kind of intrusion. Whether most transwomen are actually a threat or not is an issue I won’t touch, but the perception and felt needs of someone in such a shelter should surely take priority. The exact opposite should be happening: new, all-inclusive shelters should be being made if there is a need for such a thing.

    It is completely ridiculous to me to claim that trans activists are somehow politically weak, in either the US or the UK (I can’t say how it is outside of these two countries because I haven’t paid much attention. I would imagine Canada is pretty much identical to the US for the most part). They have plenty of pull and can apply plenty of pressure if things are at the point where someone feels a need to open an explicitly female only shelter, because none of the other existing ones can operate in such a manner.

  33. Failed Scholar

    The problem with trans activism is that it is mostly a scam, like so much else in the Western world. And I don’t mean as just an issue pushed by the Right, I mean the activism thing itself is a scam, much like most other Identity Politics stuff is a scam. We can guess this because, as has been alluded to by some of the other comments, it is almost entirely inconceivable that a political movement of <1% of the population, of essentially the mentally ill at that, could have organically amassed this much influence over our culture’s zeitgeist in such a short period of time without it being extremely useful to the 0.1 percenter types and the Professional Managerial parasite Class that run things in the Western world.

    Trans activism exists to suck the oxygen out of the room so that discussions of the real issues like wealth distribution, class power, the environment, or really anything that would alter the status quo in ways that would materially affect the 0.1 percenters gets snuffed out in favour of of bullshit identity politics garbage (of which trans issues are a subset). IdPol works by littering political movements with minefields of their garbage so that those movements are divided and stuck fighting those issues to exhaustion.

    IdPol also serves the ownership class by allowing them to push fake ‘leaders’ that pose no threat to their material interests. These fake leaders burnish their lefty / radical / progressive / libertarian/ whatever credentials by pointing to their ‘deeply held’ convictions on whatever pointless identity politics BS of the day is, or if that doesn’t work, can weaponise the IdPol to destroy their rivals that are a threat to the 0.1 percenters and their PMC’s. A brilliant twofer if you ask me! Obama was the poster-child for this sort of thing; wasn’t it so nice how woke and black he was? So progressive! Pat yourself on the fuc***** back. Meanwhile his actual policies correspond to the usual neoliberal wankery. Nicola Sturgeon is another shining example for this kind of thing in Scotland, where the trans activism and other idpol was weaponised against her enemies and critics in the party while simultaneously used to burnish her moral credentials, all the while pushing the usual neoliberal garbage. How amazingly progressive of her. And now with her leaving, the Scots will be acrimoniously arguing over the human rights violations of misgendering instead of independence. Mission accomplished, yeah?

    Too cynical a view you say? In neoliberal land one must never forget that the ideas that are sold to us by our ‘betters’ and their PMC hangers-on are almost always a scam against our interests in some way or another. Literally every single time. This is likely no exception.

  34. capelin

    What Soredemos said.

    It took me awhile to figure out the “Right’s” “obsession” with trans issues.

    At it’s best, the quarrel is with Libs having turned a human right (do what ya want, truly consenting adults, who cares) into a gas-lit red-herring “trans drone operators, we’re so progressive” as well as a full on propaganda front against one of the basic binding agents of society, the Normal Family (as defined by our entire evolution ‘cept for the last 20 years). Everything else, all the variations (long live the freaks), all the villages, (and empire), build out from family.

    If you doubt me on the latter point, have a look at the WEF, or PolicyHorizons Canada. You will own nothing, including your wet bits, now interfaced and programmable; and you will be happy. Soo happy. Lest you accumulate even more social demerit points.

    Best summary of why not drag storytime. By a drag queen.

    Also, check out “Gays Against Groomers”.

  35. Jorge

    2 theses:

    1. The TERF position has very little traction in the US. It has little traction in the UK or Canada except among bogus journalists. I have a suspicion: the feminist TERF position is all about defending feminism against carpetbaggers- it’s an anti-immigrant position. In the US, we use immigrants for slave labor so we have a much smaller anti-immigrant animus than the US or Canada, therefore the TERF position cannot tap into this animus.

    2. Nobody cares about transwomen in sports until swimsuits are involved.


  36. Kim

    @Astrid. Thank you for your comment. I’m concerned when men, who have no lived experience as a woman, can’t respect women’s boundaries. We can’t even discuss our concerns without being called, not only a TERF but a nazi and a fascist. I think trans women should be able to live their lives free of harassment and fear. I don’t know why this is such a complicated issue. Bathroom, changing room, prisons and sports can all be adapted for trans women so that biological women still have sex based rights.

  37. Ché Pasa

    Wow. I had no idea that this (transsexual/transvestite activism) was such an enormous issue for so many people. I don’t know anybody out here in the wilderness that is into it at all. There may be some, I guess, who sit in front of their teevees all day long consuming rightist/fascist media slop, but I doubt it. People just get on with their lives somehow without fretting too much about who uses what bathroom, what someone’s naughty bits look like, and whether or not Charlie in the next town over likes to dress up sometimes.

    Their little boys are not going to be turned into girls en masse, nor are their little girls going to be turned into boys. If Charlie or someone else dresses up and wants to read stories to the kids at the library one day, most people are happy enough to let the librarian decide whether it’s appropriate. The likeliest answer is no. But if it is yes, then the parents are going to be there with their kids because that’s what they do. No law banning (or forcing) such activities is necessary.

    Live and let live, right? That used to be a thing, and somehow it’s not anymore. Nope. Nowadays, it’s got to be “my way or no way.” For some people anyway. Who seemingly see themselves under threat constantly by everything. Whether it is PMC or TERF or DERP or whatever acronym is current at the moment for people or ideas they hate, they live in fear that somehow someone wants to and will destroy their lives, utterly upend the world as it’s supposed to be, or make a stink over something they’d rather not consider.

    I mentioned upthread a transactivist relative who made the transition from male to female 20-25 years ago. What she’s an activist about is basic human rights, human respect and human dignity for all, including trans men and women, which she feels very strongly anti-trans laws do nothing to foster. I think she’s right. I think she’s obviously right.

    Mutilating children is not on her agenda. But allowing (not requiring) some to have assessment and treatment by medical and other qualified professionals with parents’ full consultation and consent is. Anti-trans laws would prohibit it. Indeed, some would go so far as to prohibit adult gender dysphoria assessment and treatment. Under those laws, my relative would not be enabled or allowed to transition, right? Her body would no longer belong to her, but to the state, right?

    And so that brings us to the underlying problem: male and female bodies are being seized by the state without their consent or will, in an orgy of lawmaking that prohibits: abortion, gender dyphoria treatment and transition, drag performances, even dressing in clothing not specifically designed and sold for the gender one is assigned at birth. This is insane. How soon before females will once again become the legal chattel of males? Don’t think it couldn’t happen. That’s where this is leading, and in order to accomplish it, who gets to qualify as “female” must be previously determined. Because some men and women bridge the gap between genders, becoming one or the other if not at will, then with medical treatment, it must be prohibited. Wearing the clothing of the opposite gender must be prohibited. There must be no “invasion” of “women’s traditional spaces” (like the harem?) by men who have transitioned. There must be no discussion of non-stereotypical gender roles, or of same sex parenting, cohabitation or attraction. So it goes, on and on and on.

    Thankfully, this is not something that (currently) drives people out here beyond the reach of the Big City and University. And I question why prohibition is so important a thing to anyone.

  38. Astrid

    The handling of trans is eerily similar to handling of COVID vaccine. Somehow it just settled on two camps that have religious level beliefs about their position, even though there’s next to no scientific validation for either position. Both sides talking about people who would be indubitably hurt (vaccine harm, elderly) by their approach as a tiny population and why are they complaining so much, speaking for those people as though they can’t think for themselves. Meanwhile the massive issue of Long Covid and living with this endemic disease forever is not talked about, except for a tiny fringe that is mocked by both camps.

  39. multitude of poors

    I’ve been on a female hormone blocker for cancer for years now. Outside of cancer treatment, there are no upsides whatsoever. There are such awful effects (many seemingly permanent, from my experience) that there have been more than one clinical reports regarding women stopping treatment due to them (I’ve done that more than once). ‘Female cancer’ blogs are rife with commentary on those awful side effects. There are no beneficent side effects for female hormone blockers for cancer; and bone density scans every two years are protocol. I can’t and won’t address male hormone blockers anymore than to say that it’s a rare medication where the side effects are actually beneficent, I find the claim dubious. That linked article is highly negligent—at a minimum, in so far as females on hormone blockers who want to become males.

    As mostly Soredemos and Astrid have pointed out, this issue is a highly destructive, deliberate bipartisan distraction. I’ll add that it’s feeding the vile Pharma industry; it’s further contributing to rolling back any gains in medical treatment of biological females, which is still in the stone ages, with females (black women in particular) still being far more misdiagnosed and undiagnosed; and utterly masking the very real, global explosion of femicide; across all cultures and color lines.

    Lastly, nutter? really? Perhaps an automatic Karen? A Trump voter? Yet two other nefarious, spread like wildfire ‘memes’ to shut females with no voice (which are the vast predominance of females) up; who never voted republican in their lives. I find it bleakly ironic that some of the most vociferous lovers of George W. Bush and other Republicans that I’ve run into have been LGBTQ persons. I would make the guess that just like heterosexuals, there’s at least a fifty fifty mix of LGBTQ persons as between lefties and conservatives—much like the most famous transgender billionaire is a major high ranking military hawk Republican, and major donor to candidates and organizations such as the NRA, John McCain, and Mitt Romney.

    This is a vast subject, I’d go on about its genesis in Deep State California, one of the most historically: eugenicist; racist; classist; ageist; and misogynist states in the nation, underneath the veneer. but time constrains.

    (Adding, I wrote this comment at , 9:50 AM PDT, when Jorge‘s comment was the last one showing.)

    gotta run …

  40. Trinity

    “Too cynical a view you say?”

    Nope, not at all cynical. It’s our reality. It’s what they do, and unfortunately how we respond. The smoke and mirrors, and the sleight of hand are very effective, which is why they keep doing it.

  41. Jan Wiklund

    There is however one consideration: is it right to use scarce medical resources on what could be considered as just an idée fixe?

    Perhaps this is a European question, where we have universal medical insurances. But even if not: how much do these operations cost? Are they paid for by the patient? Is it a luxury only the wealthy can afford?

  42. different clue

    @ multitude of poors,

    . . . I find it bleakly ironic that some of the most vociferous lovers of George W. Bush and other Republicans that I’ve run into have been LGBTQ persons. ” . . .

    Were you able to find out how rich they were? Or at least how affluent they were? Or richness/ affluence aspirational? Could the LGBTQs for Bush/Trump/etc. be preponderantly what are called Log Mansion Republicans?

  43. peon

    If “liberals are doing their best to shrug and turn away” how do you explain the death threats and attempts to undermine JK Rowling for making rather mild statements that support women. If anyone has seen any of the footage of Kelly Jay Keen’s ” Let Women Speak” tour in the US, Canada and now Australia, they would get a real chuckle out of that statement.

  44. Ché Pasa

    When liberal politicians, CEOs, thought leaders, etc. vigorously defend human rights explicitly including trans rights, in defiance of the recent spate of anti-trans laws, anti-woman laws, anti-drag wearing laws and on and on and actually does something to corral the anti-everything “I don’t like” festivities of law-making, I’ll consider them doing something other than “shrugging and turning away.”

    Until then, nah.

  45. multitude of poors

    different clue, re:

    Were you able to find out how rich they were? Or at least how affluent they were? Or richness/ affluence aspirational? Could the LGBTQs for Bush/Trump/etc. be preponderantly what are called Log Mansion Republicans?

    Of those I actually had one on one contact with, most weren’t wealthy, with the possible exception of the most stark experience. He was definitely affluence seeking, though not noticeably affluent (was a young Filipino American retail clerk whose parents may have been fairly affluent). He loudly, rather out of the blue, told me that we needed to be protected, and that would be via Cheney/Bush.

    If you’re referring to the legally named Log Cabin Republicans (which I had never known about till you noted the Log Mansion Republican’s yesterday), of those I actually had one on one contact with, I was too taken aback to ask, to be honest, why they were huge fans of such infamous Republicans; likely not, as they weren’t very politically active.

    The Log Cabin Republicans is noted to have been founded in 1977 in California, and has numerous chapters across the country, including Blue™: Silicon Valley; San Francisco; and Sacramento (the State Capital); etcetera, which you may already know.

    (Adding, I posted this comment at AM PDT, when peon‘s comment was the last one showing on my browser.)

    gotta run …

  46. anon y'mouse

    i am staying out of this one, as so many here posted so much in such better ways than i ever could, but i do have this to share from my personal experiences.

    an ex of mine, hetero white male blue collar working class tradesman, was periodically called upon to service women’s shelters. primarily because he was one of the few tradespeople who could pass the rigorous background checks to cross the barrier into the safe zone of these spaces. he was as clean as a whistle, and thus could go into certain areas necessary for work only when the women being sheltered were not there to be disturbed.

    if he had to pass background checks to come in to make sure the place wasn’t going to violate health and safety, then why should anyone who passed through puberty male just be allowed to come in there by saying “I am a woman, hear me roar”?

    it was clearly a safety issue that he not be allowed at all except as determined by his special status, special need and accommodation being made to prevent disruption of the purpose those places have been invented for.

    yet anyone else who fancies themselves a woman can just prance right in?

    as a disclaimer, my mother was a severely abused woman who had a lengthy relationship with a man who eventually bashed in the entire side of her face with a gun (pistol whipped) and ripped out half her hair. the cops would not even arrest him and of course my mother was not going to press charges (he was in a criminal gang, and she and all of us would likely have ended up assassinated for “snitching”). she had a hole in her sinus so deep, she could breath through her face, the bones were crushed and my grandmother had to fetch a wig for her to leave the hospital. her eye stayed permanently and visibly askew after that.

    yes, her partner was a psycho nut who happened to be a male. but i would really have disliked the idea that she was going to a shelter into which any man might step foot just by proclaiming himself “one of us”. in the end she didn’t go to a shelter, she came home and slept on a spare mattress in my teenage bedroom. but at that time it was an all-woman/some prepubertal children household, although not a secure zone. she did not leave the premises for quite some time, and only her own brother and sons were allowed in.

  47. DMC

    Is Milton Berle in a dress inherently sexual? Flip Wilson? Jonathon Winters? Jack Benny? Tyler Perry? No? It’s just being played for laughs? So where does the “inherently sexual”come in? Nowhere, is where!
    And as to the “invasion of sacred female spaces” (fainting couch at the ready), the anti-trans voices are always engaging in cheap histrionics and entirely failing to come up with any ACTUAL CASES of trans-women abusing women only spaces, aside from simply existing in them. Also, you can quit with the straw cis-man of “you can’t change your sex” because we’re not talking sex, we’re talking gender, which is a social construct as opposed to sex which is simply biology. And which, as I pointed out earlier, is not always a settled thing even at the genetic level.
    And finally, if I seem a little vociferous on the subject, it is because I actually know and am good friends with a number of trans-people and am consequently rather more personally aware of the topic than some. It’s a lot wider than just M2F’s, though they seem to attract all the heat. Restrictions on abortion and restrictions on gender affirming care are of a piece, in that they deny that you own your own skin. I’m not comfortable with the State having that kind of power to override both medical opinion and the wishes of the individual.

  48. Couple perspectives from psychoanalysis:

    Consider this thought-exercise premise as true, even if you don’t believe it: when we desire something, we also experience an obstacle blocking us from getting it.

    It’s common for political situations of varying intensity to develop where “that specific group of people right there” takes the role of an obstacle that’s blocking a desire.

    That [minority] is [taking away / threatening / blocking our access to / the reason we can’t get] our [jobs / security / health / sexual satisfaction], etc

    It’s common because that kind of rhetorical mapping can both

    a) activate deep-seated emotions around the desire that’s blocked

    b) act as a kind of toxic dump for the strong feelings that can surround a blocked desire: channeling rage, acting as an escape valve for inadequacy, etc, which allows people participating in that political project an experience of relief of those feelings

    Can the political rhetoric around trans people be easily mapped onto this form? Is it easy to see that form in something like ”Trans people are threatening safety in bathrooms and other spaces, preventing achievement in sports, blocking us from protecting our children”?

    Now consider the types of political dynamics in the past that have taken root around rhetoric of that form.

    Can we see those kinds of political dynamics forming now?

    Is that something you want to encourage?

    Another thought experiment premise: at the same time as we are constantly experiencing obstacles to our own desires, we experience other people as transcending those obstacles and having access to their own desires.

    Think of this as an internal dynamo which can produce energy for all kinds of things – neuroses, rage, creativity, drive, etc – powered by the perspective “they are enjoying themselves in that way and I’m not”

    Now, imagine there is a specific extremely small social group whose defining characteristic is being able to access a specific desire they have.

    That desire is also both common and deeply felt (for example, wanting to feel comfortable in one’s gender role and performance, or being able to enjoy specific types of performing ones gender).

    When that group starts to gain broad social visibility, what happens to the dynamo within people? Does it produce more “energy” and create more heightened responses in people?

    What kinds of things are people fueled by that energy capable of constructing?

  49. Astrid

    I take back what I said about having a nuanced discussion.

    What I see here are the “TERF” side actually having a discussion of specific concerns, affirming that they want transpeople to live however they want but in a way that doesn’t harm “cis” women and for there to be properly vetting for treatments that will have lifelong health consequences, especially for adolescents who are still evolving their identities. Saying that the science is not so settled and the harm is not so damaged and the causality is not so linear. They also note that other attempts to have an honest conversation with the other side on these point resulted in gasliting them with comparison to Nazis and trans denialists.

    I see the “pro trans” men here are not engaging in the points brought up by the other side or acknowledge their actual position, equating everyone on the other side with the worst elements, lumping women’s issues with trans issues when they have very different basis, minimizing other people’s concerns without properly addressing them, and now saying things that are transparently untrue like DMC’s claim that nobody can identify trans committed sex crimes when specific sources were referenced in this thread.

    And if Milton Berle was dressed in lowcut haltertops with exaggerated breasts, miniskirts, and putting up a breathy “come hither” pose, as is commonly seen with trans activists, then yes that is sexual just as a cis straight woman or cis lesbian doing so would be sexual, and not appropriate in many settings especially amongst children.

    Listen men, nobody here wants to cancel your trans friends so stop bringing them up as victims of women’s desire to control access to their bathrooms/jails/shelters/dating sites and play competitive sports. Questioning whether life long hormone blocking treatments and surgery are appropriate for young people is not the same as criminalizing abortions. The fact that there is a group within the US that oppose both doesn’t make it so. That group presumably still believes humans should breath air and eat dinner, so should a “righteous” person stop breathing and eating?

  50. Ian Welsh

    We’re on course to have worldwide food be 1/5th per capita what it was in 1900, retail food prices are up 1/3rd or so already as best I can tell, the Covid pandemic continues and as many people are dying in most countries as did back when we admitted it was a pandemic and this (which effects very few people) is one of the great issues d’jour, which is why up until this post I’d avoided it. And it’s one of the great issues d’jour among at least a subset of my readers, which is interesting.

    Chains are being jerked and in as little as 20 years (I expect/hope) people will find it laughable this was a priority for us because they’ll be concerned about the next meal and if they have enough water to drink (let alone safe water.)

    Assuming we don’t have a nuclear exchange before then, and that’s very possible.

  51. anon y'mouse

    it’s the topic that the power structure wants us to be interested in, and they do that by applying pressure points to get people to choose a side, whether they really are interested or not.

    and it works.

    how else have these rich assholes kept the reigns for 7,000-10,000 years?

    whenever someone mentions to me what is “in the news” to be outraged about, i re-realize that this is what “the news” is primarily for—a distraction and outrage device to make the public focus on nonsense while the Great & Good get their lawyers to find another way for our pockets to get picked.

    this is why when someone says “did you hear about _______” i usually havent’, and then point out that this is of no concern to my interlocuter in their daily lives at all.

    unfortunately this tends to sound like i am saying “get your nose back to the grindstone, fellow Slave.”

    i’ve run around my whole life in a body that the entire human society decided was “sub” long ago, and meant for certain things and just had to cope with that. it is also limited in specific ways and wants to do shit it was genetically programmed for, whether i want to or not.

    that someone who wasn’t born like that wants to claim whatever small rights i have and then call me names for saying “hey, wait a minute…your desire to look like us has nothing to do with all of this other stuff. dress how you want, fuck whomever you like.” well, I was just “living my life” and they want to change “the rules” to suit themselves which will diminish the rights of people like me, which are already not stable or certain.

    so you see how the Powers That Be enlist us in their fake wars by putting at risk things we do care about.

  52. Ché Pasa

    Thank you, Ian 🙂

  53. multitude of poors

    anon y’mouse, re:

    i am staying out of this one, as so many here posted so much in such better ways than i ever could, but i do have this to share from my personal experiences..

    Oh, I don’t know honey, I think you’ve posted the most powerful testimony on this “thread” as to why biological females with no voice or Political Lobby™ should not be subjected to unvetted, born biological males in what are supposed to be those females own ‘homes’ and shelters after such brutal, deadly assaults.

    So very sorry about the terror you witnessed; a belated, heartfelt embrace to you, and a current embrace for these excruciating times.
    Adding, young K12 girls who may have been physically and or sexually violated by males, or witnessed their mothers and other females being violated males should not be subjected to any potentially raised as misogynist ‘pranksters’ in bathrooms (thanks, Ex California Governor Jerry Brown, and certain California legislators started that ball rolling amongst PUBLIC (versus PRIVATE) school girls who can’t vote).

    I am not saying females are any better than males; I’m saying females and children have been far more victimized due to the sheer historic imbalance of legal, economic and physical power, amidst centuries of a world run predominantly by men , It’s a very important distinction.

    As to the insertion of sacred into a quote about the invasion of female spaces (which sacred word I‘ve yet to read anywhere regarding needed female spaces); along with the gratuitous fainting couch and histrionics, I won’t dignify it with any further response. Sadly, there are some comments here I wish I could unread.

    Lastly, there’s a difference between desires and basic needs. When a person’s desires depend on destroying someone else’s basic needs they can expect outrage, and fear.

    (I wrote this comment at 8:47 AM PDT, when Ché Pasa‘s comment was the last showing.)

    gotta run …

  54. peon

    “When men are denied justice, they go to war. This is our war, only we are fighting it with banners instead of guns.” Alice Paul 1917.

    It is obvious that the “trans panic”, is being orchestrated by powerful interests. That being said it doesn’t mean there is not harm being done to anyone. Women have historically been told to be silent when they are being pushed back, to wait their turn, to think of the poor other victims of a tragedy greater than “mere women’s issues”.

    At a time when the language police are out in full force and we attempt to stop using slurs , we coin new slurs for women. TERF, Becky, Karen, cis-momen are all new slurs produced in an era when we let other groups decide how they want to be named.

    Recognizing that the Global West, led by the US is staging a proxy war against Russia in the Ukraine does not make it any less tragic for the Ukrainians.
    Staging this distraction on the small woman’s stage in the world does not make it less costly for women.

  55. Ian Welsh

    Trannies are far more likely to be subject to violence than to commit it, this is especially true for MtoF transexuals. They are also a tiny, tiny minority.

    IdPol is how part of how our lords and masters buried us over the last 40 years. Divide and conquer. So RadFems fight trannies. Oh boy, that’ll show the people who are actually making your lives miserable and who are about to finish taking away your abortion rights, which matter 100x more.

    But, unless I get really irritated, I doubt I’ll post about this again. This has sure shown me that I was right that it was an issue where there’s just no point.

  56. Eschero

    This is what aboutism. What about nuclear war? What about covid? Yes. These are also problems. People can have opinions on multiple topics.

    This topic has been blown out of proportion because there is a constant push from men to be allowed in women’s spaces (pretending to be lesbians, access to women’s shelters, rape crisis centers, women’s prisons, women’s sports) and the word woman/mother is being abandon by officials in society (hospitals (cervix havers), governments, within laws ) and replaced with “birthing body” “vagina owners” “people who bleed” and on and on.
    Besides being demeaning, these terms are used to break up the sex class of women (who are oppressed on the basis of sex) from being able to organize and women are losing jobs and friends merely for stating a women is an adult human female and sex is real.
    Sure, nuclear war is worse. But putting men in women’s prisons where they go on to rape, abuse and impregnate women (Demi Minor) is actually quite important. People generally understand that housing men in women’s prisons is a human rights abuse. Unfortunately, at the moment people are perfectly willing to pretend not to know which sex someone is and men are currently housed in women’s prisons.

    Women only spaces are important for women and were created by women—men opposed and deliberately sabotaged women’s fight for public toilets, men did not willing give women their spaces—Do women have to give up their hard won rights for women only spaces just because men are violent to other men? Should we allow gay men in women’s prisons and spaces? Men are violent to them as well. Are women human shields for some men?

    The reason you never hear anything about transmen is they are women and everyone knows it. This is about men demanding access to women’s words, spaces, and policing Women’s ability to even talk about their experience. No one is demanding we stop saying men and start using ejaculators or penis havers or sperm producers. This isn’t really a debate about trans rights. It’s actually a debate about women’s rights and whether women have the rights they fought for and won within the last 100 years.

  57. Eschera

    I would be curious to see the citation for the claim that men who identify as trans are far more likely to be victims of violence than to commit it.

    Recent research shows that men who identify as women are far MORE likely than men in general to have committed a sexual crime.

    Women still have rights to single sex spaces even if all the men who want to access those spaces are kind and harmless.

  58. Astrid

    Sure, the world is burning but if you honestly can’t understand why half the population might be upset about an (apparently PMC social Marxist driven) effort to redefine their gender and permitting physically male bodies into formerly women only spaces, then maybe the problem isn’t with them.

    Trans can be easily accommodated by through giving them resources (fairly low given their small number, though they are overrepresented in the homeless and abuse victim populations, unfortunately) to create their own private safe space and services, funding comparatively unbiased studies about best ways to handle transitions, generally economic and health services for them and everybody else, and full social acceptance of trans people in the public sphere. That’s what neither side of the trans debate is allowing. Instead, both sides are staking out women’s spaces and squeezing actual women in the middle.

    BTW, the whole trans representation thing is just like representation of minorities. So we pat our backs for voting for Obama, who has no African American ancestors and grew up with his white upper middle class (almost certainly intelligence assets) grandparents for diversity. Obama’s engagement with black American communities is just terrible, arguably worse than any postwar white president (except maybe Clinton). We congratulate ourselves for admiring Caitlyn Jenner, an rich old white person not known for progressive politics or knowing anything about a homeless trans identifying teen running away from an abusive home situation.

  59. Astrid

    Trans isn’t so small that it doesn’t affect all women in Anglo countries. They’re affecting how women’s shelters are run. They are driving cis lesbians from their bars and dating sites. They cause parents to worry, rightly or wrongly, about their kids’ public school bathrooms. They or their sports sent death threats to one of the world’s most famous women. They got Dave Chappelle cancelled from various platforms. Trans rights also gets trotted up as reasons against popularist leftists in Latin America, where US MSM use trans support to push neoliberal “progressives” controlled by US interests. Don’t minimize their impact and say it’s nothing.

    No question idpol is weaponized, but it’s weaponized by liberals and conservatives to enforce their vision on the populace. Since both are owned by the same people, they’re driving us to Hell no matter what.

    But the scenery on the way to Hell and whether the AC works can matter quite a bit while we’re on the respective Tesla clown cars with no way to get out.

    (Ian breaking out the “RadFems”. I didn’t realize that motherhood and wanting women in shelters to feel safe were radical concepts.)

  60. Ian Welsh

    So, two things are true: MtF trannies commit crimes at the same rate as males and (2) they are far more likely to be victims of violent crime than to commit them.

    While not the same thing (though it’s being lumped in lately) remember that it was drag queens who actually started fighting back against cops, probably because of that male willingness to be violent.

    This will be my last comment on this post. I’ll give it a bit of time so other people can “get in the last word” then I’m going to turn off the comments.

    Female trannies are some of the most abused people on the planet and adding to that hate is not good. They are also, again, a tiny minority. (I have no MtF trans friends and only one FtM friendly acquaintance. It would not matter if I did as I do not take positions based on who my friends are, and never have.)

  61. Astrid

    Three of those reports answer a question nobody asked and one of them confirms that transwomen are 18x more likely to commit violent crimes than cis women.

    Nobody here is arguing denying trans victims to shelters and transpeople to public facilities that they feel comfortable and safe in. The “RadFems” are arguing that those accommodations shouldn’t come at a substantial cost to cis women. It’s given that trans is a small part of the population, it is entirely possible to provide them excellent services. Separate here is not unequal. Trans is not like black or Latina, clear subsets of women, they’re a gender that’s distinct from men and women, and just because they identify with one or the other group doesn’t change their physiology or apparently their collective behavior patterns.

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