Recently a friend had to write a response to a commenter who was actually offended that she planned to support and love her son who likes to wear dresses. The reason for the offense was, of course, that she did not wish to teach her son that he is a girl. Her responses are so well-written and thoughtful that I wanted to draw attention to them.
LETTER TO A “TERF” by Yolande
“Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. It’s interesting to me that you seem to take offence to my pointing out biological facts about my son’s body. He does indeed have a penis and testicles, that will, at some stage in his life (I assume, as all signs point to his body being healthy and functional) produce sperm. My understanding of science is admittedly rudimentary, but he is clearly a male human and as such, he will never become pregnant through sexual intercourse, or give birth spontaneously to a child. How could such a simple observation be contentious?”
Indeed. The folks who believe that biological sex is a social construct but wearing a dress magically turns a boy into a girl think it’s downright hateful to point out that a male human produces sperm and might someday become a father.
Yolande is a very good writer who can summarize clearly the difference between sex and gender.
“I see evidence of increasingly compulsory heterosexuality in our society, and that troubles me. I want my children to be free to love who they love whether they are attracted to people of the opposite sex, or the same sex as they are.
What our bodies *do* dictate, however, is our sex. And sex is significant because it in turn dictates our reproductive capacity. And sadly, it is on the basis of sex roles, and reproductive ability and vulnerability, that females are oppressed and discriminated against in this world in which males hold and enforce so much privilege and often oppression, over females. My view is that sex and gender are distinct, and as I mentioned above, humans are mammals, and almost all humans fall into one of two reproductive biological sex categories: male and female. Of course, there are a small percentage of people on the planet who are intersex, or who are born with genitals or secondary sex characteristics that are very different from the more usual variations among individuals. And that’s fine! But this doesn’t negate basic mammalian reproductive biology, just as those humans who are sometimes born with missing limbs do not negate the rule that generally humans have two arms and two legs.”
Her post clearly demonstrated that she supports and loves her children for who they are and that she will support them no matter what sorts of clothes they like to wear or who they may fall in love with someday. Every kid deserves this kind of love from their parents.
However, in the comments, she is accused of being “harmful” and “misogynist” and she is referred to a preposterous article that accuses those of us who understand mammalian reproduction of being “transmisogynist.”
When the actual facts of science seem “hateful” to you, that’s how you know your beliefs are not based on reality and are actually based on religious faith.
It’s unbelievable to me that someone who explains herself so well and who is so kind and friendly gets told she is being harmful.
One commenter hilariously writes: “Your characterization of reproduction as happening between a “male” and “female” of a species is no longer the current accepted language in the circles.” Really? I hate to break it to the sparklequeers, but even if you outlaw talking about the facts of reproduction, they will remain the same. No matter how much you buy into gender theory, it still requires a sperm from a male and an egg from a female to make a baby. Feminists did not invent this system out of an evil desire to oppress trans people, this is the way humans are, and it’s also true of a large portion of the animal kingdom.
Another commenter writes:
“I always wanted to have children, and I couldn’t. People like to say to us “you’re no less of a woman because you can’t have kids.” And yet here you are, boiling womanhood down to reproduction.
Your words are harmful. Thanks for once again for further marginalizing those of us who cannot have kids, as if it’s been such a fucking rosy road all along.”
It is a complete mystery to me why stating the facts of mammalian reproduction means reducing womanhood to reproduction or harming women who can’t have kids. I am a lesbian who has no interest in reproducing, however, being female, my body still prepares to create a new life each month by releasing an egg and filling my uterus with menstrual blood. I respect this process and view the female body with reverence for having this ability, however, my reproductive capacity is not all that I am. I am many things, such as a writer, a musician, a thinker and a dreamer, a friend and a lover, a worker and a feminist. At no point does my understanding of female biology reduce me to nothing but reproduction. Understanding how babies are made does not harm people who are infertile. In fact, the reason that treatments for infertility exist is because of our understanding of biology.
Despite the fact that Yolande wrote thoughtful, well-reasoned and kind answers to the people who left unnecessarily hateful responses to her post, an entire hate-post was written about her on Tumblr. I considered responding to it but it was so incoherent there really is no way to respond. How do you argue against a postmodern word salad that attempts to erase what we know about human beings?
When you compare the writing of gender critical feminists and trans activists, it’s quite clear who is telling the truth and who is not. It’s also clear who is supporting their children and who is not. Thank goodness there are still parents in the world who allow their children to wear the clothing they enjoy and play with the toys that interest them without rushing them off to the gender clinic to have them sterilized. Those are the type of parents who will raise children who feel comfortable with who they are.